Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Al-Qaeda plays dealbreaker in Pakistan

Universal handcuff keys - $1.99 per set
"Easy to use, carry, or conceal"

Sometimes stories don't seem to be what they seem to be. If this tautology seems silly, please bear with me.
The extraordinary "escape" from police custody of Rashid Rauf, a British subject of Pakistani origin, points to a deal between the authorities in Islamabad and militants in an effort to ensure smooth national elections on January 8, but al-Qaeda remains a threat to this seemingly inventive initiative.

Police reported on Monday that Rauf, 26, had disappeared a day earlier while returning from court to Adiala jail, a high-security prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. He is said to have asked his two police guards for time to say afternoon prayers at a mosque. He went in handcuffed, and never came out.
Rauf was raised in Britain and returned to Pakistan in 2002, where he married and settled. He was arrested by Pakistani authorities in August 2006 in connection with a plot to use liquid explosives to blow up aircraft flying from Britain to the United States. This led to scores of arrests in Britain - the suspects are still to be charged - and prompted a major security alert at airports worldwide. Stiff restrictions on passengers' carry-on items also resulted.

But Rauf was cleared in Pakistan of terrorism charges last December and only faced charges relating to possessing chemicals that could be used in making explosives and with carrying forged travel documents.

These charges were dropped, but Rauf remained in custody over an extradition request from Britain in connection with the killing of his maternal uncle, Mohammed Saeed, who was stabbed to death in Birmingham in April 2002.

Pakistani Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz is reported to have told British Ambassador Robert Brinkely that Rauf's recapture is a "priority". It could be, though, that his release was more of a priority.

So, what is it? Did Rauf "escape"? Was he allowed to scamper out the back door? Why weren't police covering all the exits to the mosque? Is someone, out of sight in a mosque, really "in police custody"? Doesn't everyone have handcuff keys? I do.

An aside. I can't speak for other countries, but most of the handcuffs in the US use the same key. Interesting isn't it?

Added link to handcuff key site. Good present for Xmas.


Via Asia Times.

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