by Rick James
Special To HBN
Paramaribo, Suriname, June 29, 2006 – If Shaheed Roger Khan, the Guyanese-born alleged drug trafficker, had entertained thoughts of an early release from a jailhouse in Suriname then he has to think again.
Authorities in this Dutch-speaking South American Republic, who grabbed Khan in a residential Paramaribo district in mid-June for alleged cocaine trafficking and illegal weapons possession, have ordered him detained for an additional 30 days while they continue investigating his case.
Khan, 35, a businessman with vast assets in his native Guyana, had been ordered held for an initial 14 days without charge but a local magistrate this week slapped the additional time on him saying police need more time to complete their probe before his immediate future is decided.
Khan, believed to be close to functionaries in the governing People’s Progressive Party, had been on the run from Guyanese police and the military for the past three months following raids at places under his control that yielded weapons and other illegal items.
He skipped the river border to Suriname where local police and the US DEA watched him as he and three ex-police bodyguards interacted with his Surinamese counterparts. They moved in just when the time was right, all the while listening in to cellular calls to people in Guyana including business contacts.
Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Suriname’s seemingly combative justice minister, says Khan would most likely be charged with membership in a criminal organization, a charge that could carry up to eight years in the country’s notoriously tough prison system.
Glenn Hanoman, Khan’s leading attorney told this news agency on Wednesday that Suriname’s peculiar legal system could see Khan being held for up to 120 days before he is charged. He hopes that is not the case.
“But one good sign I have seen is that they need more time to investigate and this might mean that there is not that much on him. Also that they have now agreed for unsupervised visits by his attorneys so I may even go back to Suriname for consultations with Khan and attorneys there,” Hanoman said.
While on the run, Khan had said in press releases and in paid newspaper advertisements that he had done much to keep the government of President Bharrat Jagdeo in power from the political ambitions of Guyanese of African origin by helping authorities fight crime.
The US embassy confirmed meeting with Khan and so did the Guyanese military but he never was rubbed out of the list of wanted men in Guyana.
In March, the US named him as a known drug trafficker and announced plans to extradite him for trial in Brooklyn but has since filed papers in Paramaribo asking he be extradited from there.
Meanwhile, his arrest has been making news in Burlington, Vermont from where he fled to Guyana in the mid 90s from charges of alleged interstate gun running and cocaine trafficking. He is also wanted to face cocaine trafficking charges in a Brooklyn, N.Y. court. (Hardbeatnews.com)
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