A Mumbai based businessman Roshan Jamal Khan, who was convicted by a Spanish court for participating in a plot to stage suicide bombings in Barcelona’s metro, had his jail term reduced by the Supreme Court, returned to India on January 18.
Mr. Khan, a resident of Jogeshwari in suburban Mumbai, has moved to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against what he described as ‘unjustified’ sentence and ‘wrongful’ conviction in the Spanish court. He has also decided to fight for all Indians who are jailed overseas under false allegations.
In January 2008, Mr. Khan was visiting Spain to explore the business opportunities in ‘Olive Oil’ trade. On January 19, he along with 10 other Pakistani nationals was picked up from a mosque, where he was offering namaz. He was accused of planning suicide bombings in Barcelona metro train and in different European cities.
“I wasn’t even aware of charges against me until four months in Spanish prison until a letter from Indian Embassy official,” he said in a press conference held here.
The charges against him included planning explosion, possession of explosives, plotting a conspiracy against a country and belonging to an armed gang. He was sentenced to eight and half years of imprisonment by the anti-terrorism court in Spain. The only evidence which Spanish police claimed to have found in a bag from mosque, which was not in possession of Mr. Khan, included cables, pencil cell, a detonator and 18 gram of explosive material. He was convicted by the court despite experts informing that the material available won’t be enough to even blow up a door.
“If I was the terrorist, why did the Spain’s Supreme Court reduce my sentence?” asked Mr. Khan. While reducing his sentence, the court dropped all the charges against him except for one which claimed him to be the member of an ‘armed’ gang.Seeking help
His wife and six children went from door-to-door seeking help for his release. Though the neighbours did maintain cordial relations with the family, poor financial conditions did force his elder son to stop his education after standard 12 and search for a job.
“The Indian embassy did not come forward to help him. Are we second grade citizens here? He was rotting in jail for no crime and none of the government departments gave him legal aid,” said his brother Mehboob Khan. He said that few people who helped him were BJP leader L K Advani, Congress leader A. R. Antulay and late Hemant Karkare.
“My family has suffered a lot because of this. My priority is to bring back those happy days again for them. But these six years have given me strength to fight against any injustice and will continue doing that,” he said.
Mr. Khan who is expecting ECHR verdict by mid-2014, said that he would not spare those who put him behind bar. “I trust god and believe in divine justice. I will not only win the case, but also seek apology from the Spanish authorities. I am ready to fight till very end to prove my innocence,” he said.