UK jury declares British-Pakistani man guilty in plot to kill blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya

Published January 28, 2022
File photo of Netherlands-based blogger and activist Ahmad Waqass Goraya. — Photo courtesy DW News
File photo of Netherlands-based blogger and activist Ahmad Waqass Goraya. — Photo courtesy DW News

A United Kingdom jury returned on Friday its verdict in the trial involving 31-year-old British-Pakistani Gohir Khan, declaring him guilty of conspiring to kill self-exiled blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya in the Netherlands.

The jury returned the verdict two days after the trial came to a close at the Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court after both sides concluded arguments.

Khan, following his conviction, is expected to be sentenced in the second week of March in a criminal court. Khan, born on Feb 16, 1990, was charged in June last year with one count of conspiracy to murder Goraya.

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

During the trial, the prosecution maintained that Khan was hired by persons who appeared to be based in Pakistan to carry out the “intended killing” of Goraya.

The prosecution said that Khan had travelled to Rotterdam, Netherlands last year as part of a conspiracy to murder Goraya, and that he had undertaken a reconnaissance mission outside his home and even bought a tool with the aim to succeed in his mission.

The financial rewards for his actions were believed to be significant, with a payment of £100,000 on offer. At the time, the prosecution said, the defendant was in significant debt, with no clear means of paying his creditors.

Khan was “enthusiastic” about “carrying out the killing to earn the money and to carry out further attacks” in the future, the prosecution told the jury.

The jury was also told how Pakistan-based middleman Muzamil allegedly contacted Khan in 2021 with an offer to pay £80,000 for the job, while telling him about his own commission of £20,000.

It is unclear who Muzamil was working for, but evidence that £5,000 was paid into a Pakistani bank account and received through a hundi transfer in London was shared in the court.

At the last hearing, the jury had heard the defence counsel make a final statement in which the prosecution’s allegations against defendant Khan were rebuffed.

Though Khan was born and largely raised in the UK, he left for Lahore when he was 13 to attend school and lived as a boarding student at the Sharif Education Complex. He returned to London in 2007, without taking final exams for he had to struggle with lessons often being in Urdu.

Khan is the third youngest of six siblings. His parents moved from Pakistan to the UK in the 1970s. He was born and raised in London, and has lived at his Forest Gate address his entire life. He is married with six children aged between 11 and three.

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