• Thursday, May 19, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

UK man gets life term in jail for plot to kill Pakistani blogger

A file photo of Pakistani rights activists holding images of bloggers who disappeared, during a protest in Lahore on January 12, 2017. Salman Haider, a poet and academic, and bloggers Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, and Ahmad Raza Naseer went missing from various cities at the time. (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A WOULD-BE hitman was jailed for life in Britain after being convicted of plotting to kill a prominent exiled Pakistani blogger, prosecutors said on Friday (11).

Muhammed Gohir Khan, 31, was told he would serve at least 13 years in jail for conspiring to murder Ahmad Waqass Goraya last year, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Supermarket worker Khan, who denied the charge, was found guilty by a jury at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in southwest London in January.

Goraya, an outspoken blogger and liberal activist who lived in the Netherlands, has accused Pakistan of the plot to kill him.

The trial was told Khan was recruited by middlemen apparently based in Pakistan, and that Goraya believed death threats he had received were led and orchestrated by Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service.

Prosecutors said he appeared to have been targeted because he spoke out against the Pakistani government and military in satirical social media posts.

Goraya has previously reported violent attacks and threats made against him.

In 2017 he said he was held in captivity for weeks in Pakistan along with four other activists and tortured.

The Pakistani military denied any involvement.

Khan, from east London, travelled to the Netherlands and spent days watching Goraya’s home in Rotterdam and bought a professional chef’s knife, the court was told.

He returned to the UK after realising the blogger was away and was promptly arrested.

British police liaised with the Dutch authorities to build up a dossier of his encrypted communications with middlemen on WhatsApp and Signal and security camera footage of his movements.

He claimed he only agreed to the £100,000 fee to kill Goraya because he needed money and never intended to carry it out.

(AFP)

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