Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Police connection in prisoner escape?

A distinct possibility, and one that wouldn't surprise us in the least. Rashid Rauf was in custody, and being transported to Britain for questioning in a possible connection to a plot to blow up jetliners heading from Britain, and coming here to the US in 2005. He escaped when police unlocked his handcuffs, and let him go into a mosque to pray. Now the two officers have been arrested, and are under an investigation to see if they had anything to do with it:

Two police officers have been arrested for allowing the escape of a British suspect in an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners, officials said Tuesday.

Britain has been seeking Rashid Rauf's extradition, both to question him as a "key person" in the airplane plot and as a suspect in the 2002 killing of his uncle. He has denied involvement in both cases.

Rauf slipped out the back door of a mosque after tricking police into stopping to let him pray on the way back to jail following a court appearance in Islamabad Saturday on Britain's extradition request, police said.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media, said two officers have been arrested for negligence and were being probed for possible links with Rauf's two uncles, who also have been taken into custody for questioning.

The incident is an embarrassment for President Pervez Musharraf, who made Pakistan a key ally of the United States in its war on terror following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Rauf's lawyer, Hashmat Habib, has called the escape a "mysterious disappearance," saying he never opposed deportation. Habib said police commandos had escorted Rauf on earlier trips to court.

"How can it happen that only two policemen were traveling with him on Saturday?" Habib asked.

One of Pakistan's leading newspapers, The News, reported Tuesday that Rauf's uncle Mohammed Rafique had been in touch with one of the arrested policemen. Rafique was arrested in Kashmir this week.

It also said the officers let another of Rauf's uncles, Zahoor, talk them into letting him drive Rauf back to the jail in his own car. The officers had lunch with Rauf at a McDonald's restaurant in Rawalpindi, then unlocked his handcuffs when he went inside the mosque, the report said.

The newspaper also reported that the guards didn't immediately inform their bosses about the incident, and that they searched for Rauf for hours before reporting the matter.

Rauf, who is of Pakistani origin, was arrested here in August 2006 on a tip from British investigators. Pakistan described him as a key suspect in a purported plot to blow up airplanes flying from Britain to the United States, prompting a major security alert at airports worldwide and increased restrictions on carry-on items.

Could they have been involved? Absolutely. Readers may recall a jailbreak in Yemen in February of last year. The authorities acknowledged that the prisoners had help from the outside, and possibly could have included members of their own police force. So, no, we wouldn't put it past these officers to be involved in his escape directly, or indirectly from their possible sympathetic incompetence. We'll be watching this one.

Publius II


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