Indian jailed in Spain for terror plot, family claims innocence (Lead)

December 17th, 2009 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban London/Mumbai, Dec 17 (IANS) An Indian father of six has been convicted in Spain along with 10 Pakistanis for planning terrorist attacks in Barcelona, in a case his family says resembles that of an Indian doctor who was arrested and then released by Australian authorities two years ago.
Mumbai-born Roshan Jamal Khan, a 50-year-old businessman, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for plotting to “carry out a violent attack using explosives against the Barcelona Metro, which could have caused many casualties.”

“The indiscriminate aim is evidence of the terrorist nature of the attacks,” the court said.

The family of Roshan Jamal Khan, a graduate of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, says his arrest has echoes of the high-profile case of Mohammad Hanif, a doctor from Bangalore who was arrested and subsequently released by Australian authorities in 2007.

“The Australian authorities regret the arrest of Dr. Haneef despite an incident of terror taking place. On the contrary, the Spanish authorities arrested Roshan on the basis of fantasy of some self-styled James Bond who wanted his 15 minutes of fame,” said his Mumbai-based brother Mehboob Khan on his blogspot before Monday’s conviction.

“This sudden judgment has taken us all by surprise, coming as it does barely a week before the Christmas-New Year holidays begin in Europe. Our lawyer Salles will file the appeal before that,” Mehboob Khan told IANS Thursday evening in Mumbai.

He said that it was strange how his brother was kept in jail for nearly 22 months and then the court trial started and ended within just six working days.

“When the hearings ended Nov 23 (last month), the court informed our lawyer that the verdict would be sent to the Spain government, which in turn would intimate us,” Mehboob Khan said.

The lawyer got the judgment by post last Tuesday Dec 15, but it is not immediately clear when the ruling was sent to the Spanish government and when it (the judgment) was pronounced by the court, Khan pointed out.

“We feel that there is something suspicious about the whole thing. If it was such a big case against 10 individuals, my brother (Indian) and 10 other Pakistanis, then how could the entire trial be completed in just six working days?” he questioned.

Mehboob Khan has been carrying out a campaign to protest Roshan’s innocence ever since his brother was arrested along with 10 Pakistani men during a raid on a mosque in Barcelona Jan 19, 2008.

According to Mehboob Khan, Roshan went to Spain in Sept 2007 to explore business opportunities in olives.

“A father of six young children aged between eight and 17, Roshan Jamal Khan is lonely in solitary confinement since a year. Meanwhile, far away in India, his family awaits a dove to fly in with an olive branch from Spain,” Mehboob Khan said.

He says Roshan’s signatures have been taken on several Spanish documents, the contents of which he does not understand.

“Besides, he has also been given lawyers with whom he cannot communicate,” Mehboob Khan said, adding the Central Bureau of Investigation “did not find anything incriminatory against him.”

The court handed out the stiffest terms of 14-and-a-half years to Pakistani nationals Shoaib Iqbal and Qadeer Malik for “belonging to a terrorist group” and for “weapons possession.”

A third Pakistani got 10-and-a-half years while the remaining men received terms of eight-and-a-half years each.

According to reports, the Spanish court said the men were part of a terror cell inspired by Pakistani Tehrik-e-Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

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