Roger Khan denied early release
Shaheed Roger Khan
Shaheed Roger Khan

…petitions court for redress

THE United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida has ordered the Bureau of Prison to justify why convicted drug lord Shaheed Roger Khan should not be awarded his ‘additional good time credits.’

If the petition is granted, the convicted drug lord could be released from the Federal Correctional Institution (prison) before July, 2019. Representing himself in the case he brought against Warden Bryan Dobbs, Khan petitioned the court for an early release on the grounds that his detention is unlawful. According to him, he is entitled to additional good time credits pursuant to the newly-enacted First Step Act of 2018 but the Bureau of Prison has withheld them. Khan is now seeking an order from the Court directing the Bureau of Prison to award him the credits.

In a court document dated April 16, 2019, Judge Lisette M. Reid called on the Bureau of Prison to justify its position against Khan. “On or before April 30, 2019, the Respondent shall file a memorandum of fact and law to show cause why this petition should not be granted and shall file therewith all supporting documentation necessary for the resolution of this petition,” Judge Reid instructed. It was further instructed that the response ought to be captioned “Response” and not a “Motion to dismiss”. The counsel for the respondent is also required to notify the Court of the name of the Assistant United States Attorney to whom the case is assigned.

“Given the nature of the claims raised and the allegation that the Bureau of Prison has indicated that it will not consider such requests, a shortened period for the response is being provided in this case. No motions for extensions of time will be granted except under the most extraordinary circumstances which may require a show cause hearing,” the Judge stated from the initial stage.

On March 13, 2019, Khan filed an “Emergency Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus” pursuant to Title 28, United States Code. In his petition, Khan is challenging the Bureau of Prison’s failure to properly calculate and award his good-conduct credit.

Whether Khan is released earlier or not, he will be deported to Guyana, where he will be investigated for crimes committed locally. Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan has said there is nothing to fear. Khan, a drug lord, was fingered not only in the trafficking of drugs but also in gun smuggling, murders and extra-judicial killings. Minister Ramjattan said Khan is not deserving of a reduced sentence.

President David Granger has referred to the Roger Khan-era as the “Troubles”; a period presided over by the Bharrat Jagdeo administration. The President said it was the “darkest hour” that was characterised by drug-driven chaos and bloodshed. Jagdeo was President of Guyana from August 11, 1999 to December 3, 2011, during which there were three massacres: Lusignan, where 11 people were killed; Bartica, where another 12 were killed, and Lindo Creek, where seven miners were slaughtered. Besides, there were countless extra-judicial killings – with some activists estimating that around 400 Afro Guyanese males were gunned down.

Back in 2003-2006, Khan had set up a criminal network here including active policemen and a number of former ranks, ostensibly to go after criminals, but at the same time, protecting his narco-trafficking interests. Although the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government had sought to distance itself from Khan, the drug-trafficker had stated publicly, in an advertisement in local newspapers, that he had been fighting crime on behalf of the Bharrat Jagdeo-led government. Khan had also implicated former Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy in his escapades, and documents bearing the then minister’s signature authorising the purchase of a sophisticated wire-tapping device, were produced in the U.S. courts during Khan’s trial.

But in recent times, Jagdeo, now opposition leader, has been washing his hands clean of the crimes committed by Khan, contending that his government had nothing to do with the drug lord. “The PPP had absolutely nothing to do with Roger Khan,” he once declared. Jagdeo said once there is supporting evidence the State should take the necessary steps to bring Khan to justice.

Although evidence submitted in a US court had linked his minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy to Khan, the opposition leader has denied any connection, saying: “That has never been proven with official testimony. That has never been proven. Leslie Ramsammy said he never did.”

Khan was captured in Suriname on June 15th 2006 while fleeing local police and was later handed over to U.S authorities. He was allegedly linked to Colombian narco traffickers, terrorism, murders and other high-profile cases.

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