LONDON: The UK government’s prison and probation services have prevented former Pakistani gold trader Mohammad Asif Hafeez from speaking to his lawyer in Pakistan via video link for several weeks now.
Mohammad Asif Hafeez is jailed in the infamous Belmarsh Prison as he fights an extradition request from the US government on charges of importing class A drugs.
Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service has given a strange reason why Muhammad Asif Hafeez cannot speak to his lawyer by video link, according to a letter from the prison service seen by this correspondent. While refusing to allow Hafeez to speak to his lawyer by video conference, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Department said Hafeez’s request could not be met because his Pakistan-based lawyer, Omer Farouk Adam, “said need a UK passport to facilitate customs clearance â.
Not only are the prison services refusing to allow Hafeez to speak to his lawyer Omer Farouk Adam, but they have also told his second lawyer that they will not allow him to meet Asif Hafeez in person if he visits the UK. from Pakistan.
The prison service said its policy of granting prison visits to foreigners has since changed and that only people with “proper identification” can visit the prison to meet their clients.
Contacted by this journalist, Omer Farouk Adam confirmed that he was prohibited from speaking to his client.
Omer Farouk Adam said: âI was previously allowed to have telephone and video contact with Mr. Asif Hafeez and visited Hafeez twice in Belmarsh prison. Our office in Islamabad has repeatedly called on the UK prison authorities to comply with their obligations and allow access to Mr. Asif Hafeez, but they continue to fail in their obligations.
âWe have initiated proceedings in the high court in Islamabad to ask the Pakistani government to request the extradition of Mr. Asif Hafeez to Pakistan. Once extradited to Pakistan, he can be tried for the crimes alleged by the American authorities.
We are also of the opinion that the incarceration and persecution of Mr. Hafeez is illegal and for extraneous considerations to put pressure on Pakistan regarding the FATF blacklist and to appease the unscrupulous Indian government.
It is nothing but a witch hunt and Mr. Hafeez has been punished for no legal and moral justification.
Speaking to this reporter, another legal representative of Asif Hafez said the British prison authorities had treated the Pakistani national unfairly.
He said Asif Hafeez had not had access to essential medicines for several weeks and that once this issue was resolved, the prison authorities created a new problem by denying him his basic right to have access to his lawyers to prepare your file.
The legal representative said that Asif Hafeez’s case spans Pakistan, the UK, the Middle East and Africa and that he needs to speak regularly to his lawyers in all of these jurisdictions to deal with his appeal at the court. European Court of Human Rights against the American candidacy. to extradite him to America for trial, punishable by decades of prison.
The lawyer said Asif Hafeez’s defense had already suffered from obstacles created by the prison services, as his lawyers were unable to prepare arguments in his favor for a major hearing ahead.
On British soil there are no cases against Asif Hafeez and he has never been charged with wrongdoing in the UK or elsewhere, but is being held in Belmarsh Prison at the request of the US government after having been arrested in London on August 25, 2017.
Hafeez is wanted for trial in the United States for drug trafficking offenses in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, which charged him with conspiracy to import heroin into the United States. United, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; conspiracy to import methamphetamine into the United States, punishable by up to life imprisonment; and assist and encourage the manufacture and distribution of heroin, knowing and intending that it will be imported into the United States, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Asif Hafeez strongly denied claims that he was the âsultanâ of drugs.
The United States tied Hafeez to Indian national Goswami and his wife Mamta Kulkarni, a well-known Bollywood actress, alleging that they were also part of the Hafeez gang and ran a factory in India to manufacture ephedrine, l active ingredient in the deadly drug.
He alleged that this drug from India was then to be smuggled into Mozambique. Asif Hafeez has denied all charges.
He maintains that he was arranged by US authorities and that he did not commit any wrongdoing. Prison authorities declined to comment for more than a week.