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Hitman found guilty in UK court

Hitman convicted of plotting to murder Pakistani blogger. Photo: Geo.tv/File

LONDON: A £100,000 hitman has been found guilty of plotting to murder blogger Ahmad Waqas Goraya in the Netherlands, after being told he was on an FBI “victim list”.

Muhammad Gohir Khan, 31, was hired and directed by unknown persons to kill blogger Ahmad Waqas Goraya in the Netherlands in June last year.

Judge Hilliard announced on Friday that Gohir Khan had been found guilty, by a unanimous verdict by a 12-person jury, of conspiring to assassinate Goraya between February and June last year. The 12-member jury found Gohir Khan guilty of conspiracy to kill Goraya after entering into a contract with his master, whose whereabouts are currently unknown but Scotland Yard is believed to know the correct identity.

The UK-born Icelandic supermarket delivery driver traveled to Rotterdam and bought a 19-inch paring knife, but the target, Waqass Goraya, was not at home and Gohir Khan was detained in under anti-terrorism laws upon returning to London on Eurostar after failing in his ‘project’.

Kingston Crown Court heard Goraya was on an FBI ‘kill list’ in December 2018. Prosecutors said Gohir Khan, who earned £11 an hour as a driver, was ‘enthusiastic’ about carrying out the murder – and further attacks across the UK and Europe – to make money as he was heavily in debt and owed around £200,000 to his creditors.

Khan, who lived with his parents, wife and six children in Forest Gate, east London, claimed he had no intention of murdering the blogger but had played along to ” extract money” from his master.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Scotland Yard said the inquiry was active and it was carrying out further inquiries. Judge Hilliard adjourned sentencing until March 11. The court heard that Goraya had received online threats.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC told the jury: ‘Someone wanted him killed…those who wanted Mr Goraya dead were willing to pay to make it happen.’ The plotters branded the targets ‘fish’ in messages when they finalized the £100,000 deal, with Goraya being called a ‘little fish’ and ‘no shark’.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said officers discovered more than 2,000 WhatsApp messages between Muhammad Gohir Khan and his co-conspirator where they discussed and agreed to the murder contract.

Commander Richard Smith, of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I commend the counter-terrorism officers and Border Force colleagues whose vigilance and close cooperation launched this investigation, which subsequently uncovered a chilling murder plot.

“Khan fell in love with his cunning and artifice, and investigation revealed that he was willing to commit murder for financial gain, regardless of his future victim.”

“We were able to prevent Khan from carrying out this murderous plot thanks to the cooperation with the UK Border Force and our Dutch colleagues from the Rotterdam Counter Terrorism, Extremism and Radicalization (CTER) unit, who worked tirelessly alongside their SO15 counterparts throughout the investigation.”

Originally published in The News