Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2023. 5:20 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow notes that the story of Majid Khan, the Pakistani national being resettled in Belize after two decades held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has a personal tone for him.
The official presentation briefing made to him about Khan’s de-radicalization, rehabilitation, and redemption “struck a chord on a humanitarian level,” recalling his own experience 24 years ago in the American justice system that led to a similar prison sentence as Khan’s – ten years in a prison in upstate New York, rather than in “Gitmo” as some nickname it.
What is most important for Barrow is that like his own journey of atonement, rehabilitation, and redemption, he is “sympathetic to the power of Khan’s ability to reform and the fact he is no longer the person who participated in a heinous crime 20 years ago.”
Khan has paid his debt, cooperated with authorities, and is assuredly no threat to Belizean national security, Barrow states, based on his conversations with national security experts.
Still, he says he understands the many concerns raised by members of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the general public about national security, and he rests on the assurance that Khan has cleared the security risk analysis of both the United States Department of State and Congress and Belize’s Ministries of Foreign and Home Affairs and that if anything had been flagged he would not have passed and been approved for release.
And regardless of disagreement on policy, he backs Prime Minister John Briceño, Cabinet, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courtenay as well as the Americans not to “do anything that would compromise our national security and put Belizeans at risk.”
As he concludes with best wishes for Belize’s newest sojourner, “…we are all Belizean patriots above all else and would never do anything to put Belizeans at risk no matter who is asking.”
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