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Roger Khan says ready to tell any inquiry about anti-crime role

Wanted man, Shaheed Roger Khan has said that he is prepared to stand before a commission of inquiry to tell the nation what role he played during the crime spree in 2002.

Khan, through his lawyer, Vic Puran said that he is willing to talk and if the government and opposition want to know what role he played in fighting crime then they can both organise for him to appear before an inquiry.

Khan, who is in hiding, is wanted by the local police and has also been indicted by the US on a drug charge. Local police issued a wanted bulletin for him after searching several premises associated with him. Khan's lawyers have since challenged the wanted bulletin in court.

Asked whether, Khan would take the lead and say what he did without an inquiry having to be held, Puran said that he, Khan and his co-lawyer Glenn Hanoman would have to sit down and work this out. Khan, Haroon Yahya and ex-policeman, Sean Belfield, were nabbed in 2002 near to a cache of high-powered weapons and sophisticated electronic equipment at Good Hope by an army patrol. At the time of their interception there was rampant crime in the country and many believed that they were out to intercept some of the jail-break escapees who started the mayhem. Khan and his accomplices were charged but the matter was later dismissed in a magistrate's court. Since then, Khan has admitted that he assisted the police in fighting crime and many are of the view that he might have had knowledge of a squad which participated in the gunning down of a number of crime suspects and others.

Puran told Stabroek News that as it is now, Khan is maintaining that all of his assistance to the police in crime fighting was lawful. "He wants to have this inquiry because he said there have been so many claims from different people about what role he played. He wants to clear his name and wants to say exactly what he did," Puran said. Asked whether Khan's assistance was in the form of intelligence gathering or actual operations, Puran said that the details of his assistance would be revealed if an inquiry were held.

Khan has been speaking publicly ever since the US District Court, Eastern District of New York unsealed an indictment on May 3, which charges that he conspired to import drugs into the US between January 2001 and March 2006. According to the indictment, the grand jury alleged that Khan, together with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to import a controlled substance containing cocaine. He was charged in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section 963 and 952 (a). Under US law, Khan faces a maximum of life in prison for the offence based on the amount of cocaine imported.

The US Embassy in Georgetown last week invited Khan to apply for a US visa through the normal procedures in order for him to travel to the United States so that he can be "processed" through the country's judicial system.

The invitation came in the wake of a statement made by Khan, charging that the indictment brought against him was motivated by political considerations.

Khan alleged in his statement that he had a meeting with the Deputy US Ambassador to Guyana and the US Regional Security Officer of the Caribbean as recent as March this year. However, Public Affairs Officer of the embassy Christine Meyer told Stabroek News that as far as she was aware no such meeting was ever held between the fugitive and the US officials.

Also in the statement Khan said he was perceived by persons in the USA, the Police Force, the Army and the PNCR as someone who has the will and capacity to fight crime and to protect the people of Guyana against a coup d'etat. According to him, during the crime spree in 2002, he worked closely with the crime-fighting section of the police force and provided it with assistance and information at his own expense. He said his participation was instrumental in curbing crime during that period. Additionally, Khan said that he also assisted with intelligence after US diplomat Steve Lesniak was kidnapped.

Lesniak was kidnapped and taken to Buxton but was later freed after a ransom was paid. The US government later published a wanted bulletin for escapee Shawn Browne who was a few days later surrounded in a house at Prashad Nagar and shot dead. Brown was said to have masterminded the diplomat's abduction. In its annual report on the drug trade, the US State Department described Khan as a drug trafficker.

Stabroek News