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Saif visits the Chilean Congress

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Saif Khan met MPs at the upper house of Chilean Congress. It was announced at the Human Rights Commission at the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 that the Interior Minister, Rodrigo Hinzpeter is deliberately not sorting out Saif’s immigration status as his visa earlier expired. The interior minister is in effect trying to expel him from the country despite the fact that prosecution dismissed the charges against him. This in their view, amounts to further injustice by the minister of interior. At the Chilean Congress, Saif was accompanied by his wife, Lorena Cotroneo, and his defense counsel Ariel Zuniga, who told MPs that the State of Chile violated the human rights of his represented (Saif Khan) and demanded justice and reparation for him. He added that the interior minister has slandered Mr. Saif Khan, and insisted that the Government should make the appropriate apologies to Mr. Khan.

The members of the Human Rights Committee of the Chilean senate noted that Saif has been a victim of intimidation by the Ministry of Interior. Earlier in May, the Pakistani student was falsely accused and after seven months his innocence was proven. No crime was ever committed by Saif and this whole drama has proved to be of immense shame and humiliation for the interior minister of Chile, who exceeded his limits by interfering in the judicial process, and violating the important rule of innocent until proven guilty. All along, the Chilean nation and the international community watched with skepticism the allegations against an innocent student and the drama that was unfolding in Chile.

Deputy Sergio Ojeda, a member of the Human Rights Committee of the House, called on the government to publicly express its apologies to the Pakistani national Muhammed Saif Ur Rehman Khan.  He added that, “he (Saif) was prosecuted for possession of explosives, subjected to a detention based on an unfair prosecution… and his image tarnished from a simple foreign citizen to a dangerous terrorist and extremist, which turned out to be absolutely false”.

After listening to the foreign citizen, the members assured him their full support and agreed to send a document to the Police Investigations (PDI) and the Public Ministry to explain the operations conducted and its rationale besides clarifying to the Senate committee of the history of the case in terms of human rights. “What we do as a House committee is to express a political opinion regarding the improper conduct of a high authority of government… “said the deputy, Sergio Aguilo. The deputy Aguilo also stressed that the investigation was restricted to the Pakistani student at the insistence of the Interior Ministry, as even the U.S. ambassador in Chile did not file any legal complaint against him. Therefore, “…members of the Commission on Human Rights of the House are not going to hesitate in studying the filing of an impeachment,” of Mr. Hinzpeter.   The members also issued a public statement rejecting the actions of Interior Minister Rodrigo Hintzpeter in this case and demand a public apology for her false accusations.

The President of the Human Rights Commission, MP Hugo Gutierrez,  hoped that the facts be clarified as soon as possible, given the damage caused to the Pakistani and valued members of the Commission provide all necessary support.

After the meeting, counsel for the student, Ariel Zúñiga, appreciated the support won by the parliamentarians, saying “to report these facts, to come forward and try to help regain his honor, not only deserves to regularize his immigration status, but be given citizenship by grace”.

Truth finally wins!

December 6, 2010 1 comment

Today came to a close the seven month long case and wait for justice. The clouds of uncertainty, anguish, anxiety and tension finally faded and truth of Saif’s innocence prevailed. The accusers had alleged the most despicable and ludicrous claims against the Pakistani student Saif Khan who was studying in Chile. The prosecutors having found nothing against Saif and wasting seven months of his life, dropped the charges against Saif. At the conslusion of this debacle, Saif Khan asked the authorities who engaged in this grave injustice to have a “strong heart to admit they were wrong”.

Today is indeed a day of victory of justice and truth not only for Saif but also for the people of Chile who expressed their complete faith and trust in Saif from the very first day. Today is a day of thanks to the Almighty God and all those who supported Saif during this time. Saif (and his family and supporters) would also like to thank his former public defender Mr. Gabriel Carrión. Saif reiterated the fact that Mr. Gabriel Carrion “worked very hard for me and I’m really grateful for that”.

Fourth Court Judge of Santiago, Jorge Norambuena, granted the request of not persevere by the prosecution and ordered the cancellation of registration of charges and injunctions against the Pakistani national Mohammed Saif Ur Rehman, who was held on Monday 10 May, based on false accusations at the U.S. embassy in Chile. Earlier on 15 May, the Attorney formalized investigation against Mohammed Saif Ur Rehman on charges of violation of the law of arms control. “As power of Attorney General and having heard the complainant and the defense, it is remembered and communicated the decision not to persevere in the proceedings, as provided in Article 248 C of the Code of Criminal Procedure, consistent with this, it supersedes the execution (…), as well as precautionary measures were imposed on the accused, “Judge Jorge Norambuena established.

It was the end of seven months of uncertainty for foreign students, arrested on 10 May after being accused of carrying traces of explosives on their belongings while inside the U.S. embassy. Saif further said, “I want my honor back. They ruined my life,” and he questioned why the authorities accused him of being a “terrorist”, thus lying and playing “a political game”? Saif also added that, “please do not to link terrorism with Islam. No religion teaches bad things. Please do not use religion for political gains”.

Saif also reiterated his desire to be able to live with a peace of mind and “have a family here and live like a normal person in Chile”. The case is closed, but the accusers have not apologized for their blunders. Saif’s wife Lorena Cotroneo said that “At the moment Saif needs a verdict of complete innocence”. She added that although the charges against Saif have been dropped, by not declaring his complete innocence they (accusers) “ultimately leave Saif in a position of being an eternal suspect, which is totally against human and moral codes”.

After coming out of the court, Saif said, “I am very happy. I’d like to celebrate. They made a mistake and I was investigated for seven months for nothing. What was my crime in Chile?… Nothing. I did not commit any crime!” That summed up the mood of Saif Khan at the end of the hearing according to which charges against him have been dropped and investigations against him have been halted.

 

 

Utmost ignominy yet no act of contrition

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Are they so inhuman that they fail to realize or deliberately not confess the enormity of their wrong doings? Has power corrupted them absolutely? Civilized societies expect honesty and rule of law, and trace their civility to the Magna Carta in which nobody (including the authorities) is above the law. Laws are for the betterment and protection of people, not their exploitation. There is no place for misusing authority which is a sacred trust of the people expressed through their votes. The Chilean nation is indeed in a state of shock at the seven month long drama they witnessed orchestrated by key figures in authority. The perpetrators of injustice against an innocent student are now fully exposed due to their own deeds. On December 1st, 2010, the Chilean prosecutors dropped the charges against innocent Saif. In the information age, nobody is naïve to fall for political statements that do not address the matter. Answering questions by the press, the Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said that “all citizens, Chileans and foreigners, must be willing to undergo investigations respectfully”. The so called investigations were from the very first day based on hate and suspicions. They were a mockery of justice! No crime was committed, so what investigations are we talking about? By dodging a major issue of injustice by himself, he is only losing more credibility. No doubt, while the Chilean courts acted with great responsibility, the authorities who committed injustice by violating the principle of innocent until proven otherwise, behaved in the most negative way.

An apology is being demanded for the 7 months wait for justice and “investigations” based on baseless charges. The anxiety and mental torture given to Saif and his family; the vile propaganda, invasion of privacy, peace of mind, and strong and false ludicrous allegations do not need further explaining. The world has watched the perpetual injustice that was committed against an innocent student. The alleged presence of alleged chemical residues does not in any way allow anyone to call the innocent student a “terrorist” by the interior minister of Chile. Such behavior all along is condemnable in the highest words. Saif’s respect and dignity is equally important as any other law-abiding citizen.

On December 4th 2010, Mr. Sergio Ojeda, a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Chilean parliament called on the government to publicly express its apologies to the Pakistani national Mohammed Saif Ur Rehman Khan. The legislator said the Pakistani was prosecuted for possession of explosives, subjected to a wrongful arrest and prosecution surrounded by a great spectacle, causing public alarm , thus transforming the image of a simple foreign student to a dangerous “terrorist and extremist”, which obviously turned out to be absolutely false. Mr. Ojeda said that the incident is a huge moral damage and in the spirit of magnanimity and acceptance of their mistake the Chilean government should convey to the Pakistani citizen Saif Khan an apology.

On December 2nd 2010, ‎ Chile’s Socialist parliamentarians argued that Saif Khan’s rights were violated and he was charged without solid evidence. Members of the Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies Fidel Espinoza, Sergio Aguilo and chief bench of PS, Denise Pascal, requested that it is necessary to clarify what led to such an error in having the investigations against Saif Khan. Mr. Fidel Espionaza stated that, “we only ask that the Government should give a public apology for the humiliating treatment that was subjected to Muhammad Saif Ur Rehman. And on behalf of the Chileans I apologize for the arrogance of the Minister of the Interior; with a hint of arrogance, he was denying an obvious error and  that the person was  arrested without merit”. Earlier, Senator Alajendro navarro also showed complete solidarity with Saif Khan and questioned the entire investigation process. Such calls for apology are in addition to the thousands of comments received on the ReleaseSaif Facebook page supporting Saif and condemning the manifest injustice committed against him.

The fact of the matter is, that the unjust person who talked against innocent Saif, must apologize to the Chilean nation for disgracing and misinforming them. Not only have key personnel in authority have overstepped their boundaries but also wasted and squandered the tax money of the Chilean nation by pursuing baseless “investigations” in this case in many parts of the world. It is because of this reason that a wide section of the Chilean civil society and now the parliamentarians and senators have stepped in demanding an apology from the serving Chilean interior minister. It is often forgotten that an apology would not lower the stature of a person but give the person a chance to set right what he himself set wrong.

Saif interview – Chilevision

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

205 days of uproar and mental torture

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

After 205 days of uproar, which included custody, investigations in different parts of the world and inquiries from friends and family, the regional prosecutor of the Southern Zone, Alejandro Peña, along with attorney Paul Sabaj, requested a hearing to not persevere against Muhammad Saif Ur Rehman Khan. Saif, a Pakistani student was summoned to the U.S. Embassy Santiago for a “consular issue” and arrested for having alleged traces of a chemical on 10th May, 2010. One might ask, what was Saif’s crime? The answer: NONE!

To add to the injustice, interior minister of Chile Rodrigo Hinzpeter had said in May: “If this person actually had traces of TNT on his clothes, in this case it means that…..it is a very powerful indication that he was involved or participated in a crime of terrorism”. Such were the irresponsible words from the person at the helm of affairs in Chile. However, the Chilean courts proved their impartiality and Judge Jorge Norambuena, not only declared Saif free but also ruled that by saying that Saif had any ties to terrorist groups because of his nationality could mean an act of religious discrimination.

Speaking to media on 2nd December, 2010, Saif reiterated that, “I just want to be declared innocent, I do not just want the charges to be removed. I’m innocent and want to continue my life”. Saif also reminded what he had been through happened: “Every day was very difficult for me and every second was like mental torture. I was related to certain people  in the media whom I don’t know. Life was difficult for me, sometimes I could not eat, sometimes I could not sleep. Me and my family have suffered greatly”.

In the same interview Saif  had words for the actions of the authorities linked him to terrorist acts. “In my opinion everyone is innocent until proven guilty and to declare someone as a terrorist is something serious and authority should be responsible for that”. he said.

Attorney Alejandro Pena, who led the investigation, told El Mercurio newspaper, “This is a closed case until new facts that permit to reopen the investigation.” Saif’s public defender Gabriel Carrion said: “It was time to end this national shame”. Pakistani ambassador Burhan-ul-Islam said he always trusted the Chilean courts.

The coalition for the support of Saif Khan thank the Chilean nation and well wishers and supporters around the world for their trust in the innocence of Saif. We thank all for their continued support to Saif and his family. VIVA PUEBLO CHILE!

“I have suffered a lot!”

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

“I have suffered a lot! My family has suffered a lot”. These were the words of Saif Khan as he spoke exclusively to TVN on December 01, 2010.  Saif lamented the fact that the case was dragged for 7 months. Enough injustice has been done! In his interview to media, Saif also said that, “yes I am happy that it is going in the right direction..” However, justice still remains to be done. He added that,  “what has happened against me cannot be undone. I want to be declared innocent; I do not want just the charges to be dropped, I want them (the prosecutors) to say I’m innocent so I can continue my life peacefully”.

Saif Khan also said that no innocent person should ever go through what he and his family have experienced. What did the accusers achieve by not only stigmatizing and defaming an innocent person but an entire community? There are many questions that remain unanswered! The coalition for the support of Saif stands strong with Saif Khan and demand a formal apology from the accusers who have caused immense damage to him emotionally and physically. When he was detained by the Chilean authorities in May, he was mistreated as a criminal, not given food or water and held in solitary confinement. Laws of countries cannot be allowed to be misused against law abiding innocent individuals.

Prosecutors drop charges against Saif Khan

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Prosecutor Alejandro Peña  on Wednesday (1st December, 2010) asked a court “not to persevere” against Saif Khan who was falsely accused in May. Peña said that having practiced the “investigative procedures” in the case “not enough evidence was found for an indictment”. The prosecutor’s decision was due to failure to confirm suspicions against Saif Khan. In other words, “having all necessary investigative steps, not enough evidence was found to press an accusation. The traces found were not constituted as sufficient to accuse him,” says the text submitted by the prosecution.

More than what happened at the US embassy, the whole 7 months long drama was pursued simply based on suspicions and no proof.  Obviously, when no crime was committed, it was ludicrous to even continue this for almost 7 months. The trauma and anguish Saif and his family went through has no meaning for those engaged in this injustice.

This latest development cements and proves the reality of Saif’s innocence. Truly, Saif is absolutely innocent and now the whole world knows it. It is also clear that Saif has been a victim of severe injustice. Saif was falsely accused and 7 months of his life and his family’s have been wasted.

A court hearing has been requested on December 6th at the Center of Justice of Santiago.