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London man jailed for life for planned murder of Rotterdam activist

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A former East London businessman was sentenced to life in prison for plotting the murder of Pakistani activist and blogger, Ahmad Waqass Goraya, who is based in Rotterdam. Gohir Khan will have to spend a minimum of at least 13 years behind bars, according to the Metropolitan Police in Greater London. 

Khan, who worked in a supermarket at the time, was in serious debt from running his cargo company, prosecutors claimed. They argued this was one possible motive for the murder plot targetting Goraya last June, for which Khan would have received 100 thousand pounds, equivalent to about 120 thousand euros.

He was sentenced on March 11, after jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict of conspiracy to murder six weeks earlier.

Khan had maintained that he did not know of the victim but this was found to be untrue when Met Officers discovered more than 2,000 Whatsapp messages between him and his co-conspirator in which the killing of the Rotterdam-based blogger and activist was discussed.

The Pakistani activist had a large online following for speaking out against the Pakistani government, which led him to be targeted by Khan. Bringing Khan to justice has been almost a year in the making.

He was first captured by officers upon his return to London on June 23 after an unsuccessful attempt to find and kill Goraya in Rotterdam a week prior. He reportedly stalked an address in Rotterdam with a 19-inch knife looking for the blogger. Police searched Khan’s home and formally arrested him two days later. He was charged with conspiracy to murder on June 28.

Goraya was tortured in Pakistan in 2017 at the hands of intelligence service members, he alleged during an interview with the BBC. He thought the same people were behind the plot to kill him, and expressed his hope the Netherlands would assertively address the issue with Pakistan.

“The dedication and diligence of counter-terrorism officers, Border Force colleagues and our Dutch law enforcement counterparts led to justice being served in this chilling case of conspiracy to murder,” Commander Richard Smith from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said. “Khan fell foul of his own low cunning and artifice, and the investigation found he was willing to carry out a murder for financial gain, giving no regard for his intended victim.”

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