Details of ‘conspiracy to kill exiled blogger’ surfaced during trial in UK

London: The testing Gohir Khan, 31, a British Pakistani based in the United Kingdom, began Thursday at Kingston-on-Thames Crown Court with prosecutors revealing details of an alleged conspiracy to murder exiled blogger and activist Ahmed Waqas Goraya. Located in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Prosecutors said Khan was hired by people who were based in Pakistan to carry out the “intentional murder” of Goraya.

Financial rewards for his works are believed to have been significant, with a payment of £100,000 on offer. At the time, the prosecution claimed, the defendant was in significant debt, with no apparent means of paying his creditors.

Prosecutors told the jury that Khan was “enthusiastic” about “committing murder to earn money and further attacks” in the future.

Prosecution claims Gohir Khan was hired, payment was made by persons based in Pakistan

It describes how the defendant traveled to Rotterdam and, trying to locate the victim, purchased a knife he intended to use to kill Goraya. Unknown to him, Goraya was not at his home address in Rotterdam at the time. After a few days of unsuccessful attempts to trace the alleged victim, Khan gave up and went back to the UK. On his return he was arrested.

Khan was allegedly sent by a middleman a picture of the blogger along with his address, who was identified by the prosecution as ‘Mudz’, ‘Z’ and ‘Papa’.

Prosecutors said the evidence included messages sent and received by the defendant on mobile telephone devices, evidence of attempted travel to and from Rotterdam, CCTV footage of his activities in Rotterdam and evidence of his purchases in the city.

Prosecutors also detailed the “deal between Khan and the middleman” with an agreement to pay a total of £100,000, of which £80,000 was to be paid to the defendant and the rest to the middleman.

The exchange of messages between Khan and the middleman shows the defendant seeking information about the victim. Khan asked, “Is it a deep-sea fish, or just tuna?” Trying to understand whether the ‘job’ was big or small.

He also said “sharks are expensive, tuna” [sic] Cheap”, meaning it will cost more money if it is a bigger target. The middleman responded by saying that the target was “just tuna, but UK tuna, not European tuna. A little travel is involved. ,

Throughout their exchange, Khan and the middleman used fish and fishing metaphors, such as fishing tackle, to refer to the job.

Khan also asked what would happen if the “ship sinks” if the job was unsuccessful.

In his opening statement on the first day of trial, the prosecution said “somebody wanted him”. [Goraya] to be killed and it may well be that the motive for his murder is linked to his political activism. Those who wanted Mr. Goraya to die were willing to pay to ensure that. In short, there was a conspiracy to kill Mr. Goraya.

The question was put before the jury whether Khan was involved in that conspiracy.

The jury was told that although Khan admits to having sent and received all the messages he accepted as evidence and to be the person on CCTV traveling in and around Rotterdam, he says he never intended to. was that Mr. Goraya should be killed.

Goraya is an activist and blogger who left Pakistan in 2017 after he and five other bloggers were kidnapped and later released in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, January 14, 2022