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Pakistani prisoners in Santiago

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Caring, honest, confident and hard working, these are the words that rightly define the innocent young Pakistani student who has become a prisoner in Santiago. From coming this far in quest of learning, to working hard in tourism and hospitality, Saif has always made his parents and family proud.

During his college years at University College of Islamabad (UCI), he had proven to be successful in creating fascination in the said institution. He was praised by college staff and fellow students in general and by his principal Catalina Alliende who is a Chilean and also happens to be the honorary Chilean visa consular in Islamabad. She motivated and recommended Saif to proceed to Chile as a suitable place to excel in his career. Saif highly respects Miss Catalina for her support and mentoring. Saif arrived in Chile in January 2010 and started his education at a prestigious institute in Santiago. Things were normal, however what followed after May 07th phone call from the US embassy is nothing short of a nightmare!

His caring and friendly attitude was evident from his enthusiasm in helping fellow Chileans in the earth quake relief efforts after the devastation caused by the earthquake earlier this year. Humanity always came first for a person like Saif. He was hardly ever interested in politics and never wants to engage in any. Therefore, it is beyond doubt and remotely understandable why the Chilean authorities continue with their vile accusations against him. This is complicated by the fact that the whole case even after five months is still being “built” without any evidence and proofs. Even 150 days were not enough to “build a case against Saif? This speaks volumes about the flimsiness of the claims against him that they could not stand in the court of law. Simply based on presumptions, new stories are carved and brought in the honorable courts. No doubt, till now the judgments have generally been in favor of Saif. His innocence and the fact that his human rights are being violated is also proven by the fact that Saif was released from high security detention center after five days in May. What is frustrating is the fact that precious time has been taken away from Saif as his educational career is compromised. A student of his age does not deserve such grave injustice especially in a civilized country!

Following the case closely reveals that the accusations become stranger and outrageous by the day. In the initial stages, Saif was accused of having links with illicit groups inside and outside Chile. Later, the mantra changed to new baseless and often laughable accusations about him being involved with some indigenous anti-state elements. The court rightly rejected all claims by the accusers as they were no more than a mockery of justice and a waste of court’s time. The Chilean interior minister tried his best to apply the anti-terrorism act on Saif, which too was rejected by the honorable court. It is amazing that someone would go to that extent against a person who is allegedly found with traces of a chemical substance that could have come from anywhere in the environment especially in a city rebuilding after a devastating earthquake. The defeat and humiliation caused to the Chilean authorities by their own acts of injustice have made them more desperate for a face-saving and somehow crossing the limits of sanity in hatching new accusations.

To aid their innocent son, Saif parents have been in Santiago since four months and in a way are also suffering at the hands of open discrimination and injustice at the hands of Chilean authorities especially the interior minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter. Mr. Hinzpeter seems to be in the grip of anti-Muslim bias and paranoia causing immense inconvenience, slander and a terrorism phobia mainly directed at the peaceful and law-abiding Muslim community in Chile.

There is no intention whatsoever to point fingers at anyone. However, there are so many unanswered questions which make any person question the intention of the authorities.

  1. Why was Saif called to the US embassy in Chile? He already had 5 years US visa, was in the US in January and had no intention of being at the embassy. He was called in an unprofessional way and then the whole issue emerged.
  2. Why was Saif declared by the Chilean authorities as a “terrorist” simply because some accusations were laid by a private security agency that he had TRACES of some explosives on his documents? Let alone an apology, since there was no clarification from the accusers, this can only be understood as a generally prevalent Islamophobia. The very negative label is enough to destroy the image and life of a law-abiding innocent student.
  3. Why did authorities try to accuse Saif of having links with illicit groups, whom neither Saif nor his family has any idea of?
  4. At the end of May, when the prosecutor wanted to drop the charges against Saif, why was he replaced with a new prosecutor? In addition, the replacement of the US ambassador in Chile, the FBI chief in Chile and other officials in positions of authority raises many questions.
  5. The ever-changing accusations and the stance of the accusers is nothing less than a mockery of justice. Would any sincere individuals in positions of authority ever do such acts to tarnish the image of an innocent student belonging to a particular religion and nationality?

We ask the world community and the human rights organizations to take notice of this grave human rights violation.  We are confident that truth will ultimately prevail.

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Prosecutors & new lies

October 4, 2010 3 comments

Secrecy and concealment of facts is not acceptable. Such petty behavior does not match the principles of fair-play and justice. After passing of around five months, the prosecutors have come up with new lies and are trying to carve new stories.

A realization and acceptance of faults does not make anyone small. This is exactly what the authorities need to do. We do not have to repeat Saif’s innocence as the whole Chilean nation stands with him. It is simply unacceptable that Saif and his family have to go through this entire trauma. His right to live with dignity has been snatched from him. This indeed is a grave human rights violation. After seeing an innocent person who is helpless, we will advise anyone belonging to our faith or our nationality to avoid coming to Chile, be it for tourism or education. We have no doubt now that the Chilean authorities do not respect the principles of truth, justice and equality.

Photo: Francisco Eagle Emol

Today, the tribunal extended the time for investigations by 60 more days! The prosecutors demanded 90 days extension, but judge Carolina Araya extended the investigation period to 60 days and has allowed Saif to travel freely inside Chile. Earlier Saif was not allowed to leave the Santiago area. Despite these arguments, the public criminal defender Gabriel Carrión opposed the request noting that most of the data submitted by the prosecution were already known and significant time had already been taken to “investigate”. Carrion also added that the measure has already affected freedom of Saif Khan and his parents.

 

After five months investigating the allegations by the US Embassy in Chile that Muhamed Saif ur Rehman Khan had alleged traces of tetryl on him when he went to the US Embassy on May 10, the prosecutor has not been able to produce one shred of evidence that Saif violated any law.  To appeal in the court against him by the prosecutors is a travesty of justice.

In fact, even the charges themselves have no substance.  Saif, a Pakistani citizen in Chile with a student visa, was summoned to the U.S. Embassy on May 07th by an embassy employee.  When Saif entered the embassy, his papers and cell phone were taken from his possession.  The alleged traces of tetryl that were supposedly found on him were in fact only found on the items taken from him (handled by the US embassy staff) and not on Saif or his clothing, according the Chilean police, who were called to the scene.

The other supposed “evidence” was obtained after three PDI detectives entered Saif’s apartment without a warrant while Saif was detained in the US Embassy.  These Chilean police agents were later reported to be following orders of the US Embassy, not of their police superiors.

In addition to the fact that traces (not significant quantities, but simply traces) were only allegedly found on items not in Saif’s possession, the fact is that no crime was committed.  Chilean law forbids possession of explosives, not contamination by “traces” of tetryl.  As the public defender Gabriel Carrion has said, not only is Saif not guilty, but in fact there was no crime.

Saif should be fully exonerated at this point.  To allow the prosecutor additional time to “build his case” is a travesty of justice. When a person is innocent, as Saif is, it is impossible to find evidence, no matter how much time is granted.  Saif has been detained for six days shy of five months.  This is a grave injustice.  It has been an extreme hardship on him and his family, especially his parents who traveled to Chile to support him through this ordeal.

Even the kindness and support of the Chilean people cannot make up for the six months of freedom taken from Saif, and the damage done to his reputation by false accusations.  It is time for the Chilean people to stand up to their government.  It is time for the international community to take notice and demand Saif’s freedom and complete exoneration.

The strange impasse

July 29, 2010 2 comments

After passing of several weeks, the prosecutors have not given any information as investigations stand inconclusive behind a veil of secrecy. Saif Khan’s public defender Gabriel Carrion blamed the prosecutors for not making any contact regarding the progress of investigations. Since June 17, 2010 the  new prosecutor Ajendro Pena has been heading the investigations but till now there seems to be an unwanted impasse. Every fifteen days, Saif Khan has to appear and sign at the international police office in Santiago. The case has unreasonably dragged on till this day.  Saif Khan and his parents are in Santiago and anxiously await an end to this drama.

The Chilean Public Ministry has not issued any new measures that can help clarify the facts. It is indeed sad and frustrating to see such long and secret investigations that are leading nowhere, only wasting everyone’s time. Although the people of Pakistan and Chile are ever closer, the whole incident has left a bad impression of the Chilean authorities who have only caused more injustice through their delaying tactics. End this injustice now!

Mano a Mano con el senador Alejandro Navarro – 24horas.cl

June 20, 2010 3 comments

Chilean Senator Alejandro Navarro speaks about Pakistan and innocent Saif ur Rehman, in a popular TV program “Mano a Mano” on TVN 24 Horas. (Spanish)

English Translation

(0:58 the introduction is about a mining royalty)

J: Senator welcome, but. Before starting talking about all these topics, there is one in particular that is in my head turning and turning but I can´t completely understand it; and many people asked to me about this, and also with a sense of duty, this youngster Saif ur Rehman, this Pakistani youngster that is now in our country and his case that became in a suspense and international intrigue novel that makes me remember a novel called “midnight express” that a movie was also made. I almost have a feeling that we are experimenting the same. What are the backgrounds that you have? What is really happening beneath all? What explains this entirely unique situation that is happening in the justice courts!?

Senator Navarro: Alejandro, thank you for your invitation. Saif is calm with his family. His parents traveled from Islamabad to Santiago, they have
spend here almost two weeks. He is free now, the interior ministry has appealed twice, but he is free. So there is insufficient evidence to convince the court that he is a hazard to the society. If I can put this in these words, he came to Chile invited by the Chilean government. It was Catalina Alliende, the Chilean consul in Islamabad who adviced him to come to Chile, who gave him the visa, who looked for a place to study for him, who looked for a job for him, so she was a
fundamental pillar. His family knows her since 16 years ago, knows him and his brother, so here happened something that it must be solved in the sake of the transparency with which the government departments must operate, but also for the decisive action, not incriminatory, of the state and the media, because he has been criminalized, and what I asked for is for him to be investigated, because I contacted him when the anti-terrorism law was applied to him, because I thought about: Elena Varela, 2 years in prison now she is free without any charge, Jaime Huenchullan, temucuycuy leader, 1 year and a half in prison now
free without any charge, this two cases because of the anti-terrorism law. And with saif, this law was applied to him in the very beginning
and I think that this law does not allow a proper defense of his rights.

J: and automatically he receives a different treatment in the court?

Senator Navarro: well, there are “no face” witnesses, lack of access to brief procedures, yet these two hearings have been secret, so myself and his
family we set an agreement. They are calm, waiting for the prosecutor to present all the evidences that he has, there are 120 days, his family and his father that is also a medical doctor are going to stay until saif remains completely free, sacrifying his job in Islamabad, because this case has also brought a strong debate in Pakistani politics. I am the president of a Pakistani-Chilean friendship team, and the senators of Pakistan are very worried because they feel discrimination. Because if we accept that being a Muslim is being a terrorist than we are walking on a very complex path. We want him to be investigated, the prosecutor to investigate but we don’t want that they called him guilty in a rush.

J: But there are something else, I have a feeling, just a feeling that maybe a political intrigue beneath that escapes from this youngster in particular. He appears to be a piece in all this scenario that is trying to create a positive feeling about some kind of politics.

Senator Navarro: Alejandro, I am sure that this is a set up, because the company that caught him is a private security company, whose backgrounds are
not known for us inside the USA Embassy. We asked them to present the evidence about him being caught, videos, anything, but they don’t have it because he was isolated, nothing of that happens. So I feel that the US politics about terrorism, that is spread worldwide, has some behavior patterns. And here, they “detect” one of this patterns, and they acted like they use to act with known terrorists, and Saif fulfill this “pattern” since all this issue started that led
him to this. Once I saw footage from US tv of police officers coming out of a Pakistani terrorist house with white suits and everything, and then I saw the same footage in Chilean tv, so people think “there are bombs”. I feel that this state of alert has injured him! I want this to be investigated, and I think that all this started outside the Chilean borders. We asked to be investigated if the CIA or the FBI are here in Chile investigating terrorism issues, and if that is the
situation, I want to know as senator and as citizen. This is a question that is still not answered.

J: What is the role played by the Chilean Interior Ministry when they present some evidence that is not permissible in any place. They accused him of attending some mosque;; I never knew that it was a crime and it is not. He is accused of meeting some people, but not one of them has charges that are not even investigated before by the Chilean justice system. So how could that be a crime when the Chilean justice never accused one of them?

Senator Navarro: Alejandro, look, Pakistan is a country with 170 million population. 97% of this population are Muslims and this situation created a deep
resentment because is well known that the evidence is extremely weak, so here we have a presumption that I think that is nothing but discrimination. We told Minister Hinzpeter, if you have evidence, present it and investigate him. This is because I also want to fight against terrorism, but the way the US fights against terrorism is a wrong way. They fooled the whole world, in Iraq, they fooled all humanity. They fooled the UN. At least they did not fool ex-president Lagos,
because all talk about weapons of mass destruction is a lie. So in this prosecution politics, intelligence organizations, they overreact trying to create scenarios or trying to anticipate certain scenarios. I hope that the interior ministry acts with responsibility, to present all the evidence and to investigate deeply. Until now, I am sure that saif has nothing to do with all these.

J: In the congress/Senate you don’t have a feeling that the interior ministry may be connected with international intelligence services because of something that we don’t know?

Senator Navarro: What we formally have is the ANI (National Intelligence Agency) and we hope them to perform “intelligence” because in the past they never
did it. And if there is information, this must be channeled, so that it can determined that the information is confidential, that is possible, the ministry can act in a defensive way, but in one minute, this must be solved, because later we can have a kind of psychosis. I want to tell you that the Muslim community is also hurt and felt attacked because the main issue in saif´s detention is still his Muslim condition. There is no other fact most concrete than the fact that he is a Muslim. I want in the sake of diplomatic relationships, and in the sake of a good coexistence in Chile, political and religious, that this case must be investigates and if is necessary, that the case must be processed or they must ask forgiveness. But something must be made. This must be solved, investigated and we don’t want to prejudge.

Truth is clear!

June 13, 2010 1 comment

Some facts about Saif Khan’s case.

  • Contrary to the malicious campaign launched over the weeks regarding Saif Khan having traces of residues of some explosive tetryl on him, it has been proven that there were no traces of any such substance on his hands, skin and clothes. Otherwise it would have caused dermatitis disease.
  • Saif Khan’s cell phone and educational documents which allegedly had traces of a potentially harmful substance were confiscated  inside the US embassy . Facts speak for themselves, and if Saif’s hands had no traces of residue of tetryl, how did they come on his cell phone and documents?! They were obviously not handled by Saif Khan. Truth is quite evident!


  • The prosecutors in Chile did not file an appeal against Saif Khan in the court last week. Instead, the Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter filed an appeal against Saif’s freedom, which was rightly rejected by the court.
  • Even with all the negative campaign to malign Saif continuing, the Chilean people stand firm with innocent Saif. There are many contradictions in this case from the opponents.

“They had my mother crying and my family stressed … What for?”

June 1, 2010 1 comment

01 June 2010, Muhammad Saif ur Rehman Khan was released from the high security detention center in Santiago. The judge of the Fourth Court of Guarantee Santiago, Jorge Norambuena ruled against his detention and set him free. The judge further added that linking Saif with any negative religious groups “could be an act of discrimination that violates international law.”

The family commends the efforts of the public criminal defense lawyer, Gabriel Carrión who delivered two new records on the case. The first corresponds to an expert report indicating that the tetryl contact with skin causes dermatitis, which has not happened with his client.

The second, more important, is that according to a police document, it can be concluded that neither Saif’s hands nor his clothes had traces, evidence, or any particle of tetryl or TNT. ” http://radio.uchile.cl/noticias/69446/

Today was a day when Saif was rightly released! We expect that all baseless charges against him will be dropped and Saif will be allowed to live in peace and respect that he deserves.

Upon being released, Saif was quickly surrounded by media who were anxious to interview him outside the detention center. Saif a brave person of quiet and thoughtful behavior, merely asked questions to the press in a composed manner: “What was the goal? What was the purpose? Just to give a bad name to Muslims? They had my mother crying and my family stressed … What for? “.

These questions resonate with the feelings of Saif’s family who have been through immense pain and grief over the last few weeks. Why was Saif made a victim and what purpose did all this achieve? We do not want to engage in any politics nor do Saif and his family have any ill-feelings towards anyone. Our family values are ingrained in love and respect for humanity.

Saif’s family is overwhelmed by the support they received from the Chileans, the Pakistanis and all freedom lovers. We can never thank enough the outstanding support from the Chilean people. On the family blog, the Facebook pages, thousands of supporters expressed their support in words, while millions supported Saif and his family with prayers.

Instead of appealing against his release for a second time, it is about time that this whole case comes to a close; and the opponents realize the mistake they have made by blaming an innocent person.

No more baseless arguments…Hope sanity prevails tomorrow!!!

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

No más argumentos sin fundamento … Espero que la cordura prevalezca mañana!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 01st of June, 2010, there will be an important hearing that will set the final pattern of the case and hopefully set Saif free. We hope for the best and that he will come out and live as a normal human being. Saif deserves all the best in life as many see him as a role model of good character and courage to stand up to the truth without any consideration for how big the opponent is. No lies or false accusations can shatter the confidence of his family, friends and the people of Chile.

Let’s recap some points related to the last hearing that resulted in revoking of Saif’s bail.

Saif’s freedom had been revoked by considering the following petty arguments that were presumably accepted;

  1. Saif does not demonstrate enough social  roots in Chile
  2. There could not be any logical reason established for Saif to be here in Chile

In conclusion of these two illogical arguments, Saif declared to be a ’danger to society’ and has been put behind bars.

Above arguments were presented to court just as a delaying tactic and have no basis. There can be thousand of words written against these arguments having undeniable absolute proofs and logical reasoning.

For tomorrow’s hearing, we expect that no baseless and ridiculous arguments will be passed to honorary courts. Such arguments have already caused enough humiliation to the beautiful image of Chile. Chile is a bastion of stability and peace in South America. It does not suit a country of Chile’s stature to detain an innocent person without any proof and create lies against him.

Up till now there has not been a single authentic proof supplied to back these allegation or any alleged activites that could possibly become suspicious for any investigating authority. His past and present is clear and thousands testify to that.

Tomorrow’s decision will also prove to be a milestone in determining the freedom of actions and policies that have been obviously under pressure from outside.