Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Where is Tahmid Khan?

University of Toronto student Tahmid Hasib Khan

When Bangladeshi security forces stormed the Holey Artisans Bakery in Dhaka, they killed six people, "freed" at least eight people and discovered that twenty hostages had already been murdered by the terrorists, hours before. A handful of others who had been in the restaurant had either escaped or been released previously.

Those freed had been spared by the terrorists because they had been able to recite lines from the Koran or had in some way satisfied their captors that they were "true" Muslims.  

Five of the people killed were terrorists. The sixth man was the pizza chef at the restaurant. He was first described as being mistakenly shot in the crossfire. But the government subsequently designated him as the "sixth terrorist," - a confederate of the hostage takers, although to my knowledge, his alleged precise role has never been described.

Three of the freed people were apparently kept by the police for further questioning, and rumors began to circulate that they were also suspected of being collaborators with the hostage takers.

One of them was Tahmid Hasib Khan, 22 - a Bangladeshi citizen but also a current undergraduate at the University of Toronto.

During the siege, Khan was seen carrying a gun. However, other freed hostages have claimed that the terrorists persuaded him to briefly carry an unloaded gun against his will. Some credit him with persuading the terrorists to spare the lives of the surviving "Muslim" group.

A second possible reason for Khan's detention is that he went to the restaurant to meet two friends who happened to be from the same university as one of the terrorists.

As far as I know, these two items are the only reasons that have been publicly proposed as to why Tahmid Kahn might have been under any suspicion. And there seems to be no prior or independent evidence that Khan was a terrorist or had any terrorist links. He has been described by friends in Toronto as a well-liked if perfectly normal student:
We know Tahmid to be a passionate musician, a versatile stage actor and an extremely supportive friend. We know Tahmid to be a career-oriented, extremely hard-working and lovable character,” said the statement, released on Facebook. “We are praying for Tahmid’s quick release. We are praying that he’s allowed to be back with his family.
Khan's relatives, friends and other interested parties quickly began to lobby the police for his release. They claimed that he was epileptic and tried to make sure he had medical attention as well as legal representation. His father, a corporate executive, maintained a vigil outside the location where he was supposedly detained and was reportedly able to speak to his son twice, although the circumstances of that are unclear. 

Recently, however, events have taken a very disturbing turn.

One of the three detained men died in a hospital, and reports suggest he may have been beaten to death by police.

Then the police claimed that the other two men - Khan and a Bangladesh born British citizen, Hasnat Karim - had been released days before.

But neither of them has been seen.

Amnesty International recently publicized the case of Karim. For reasons that are not clear, they did not mention Khan.

Khan's father was subsequently admitted to a hospital after suffering a possible heart attack.

His mother has apparently suffered an emotional breakdown.

Where is Tahmid Khan?

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