Khan claims son is victim of 'police racism'

FORMER city councillor Shami Khan accused police of being "institutionally racist" after his son was sentenced to 300 hours community service for an attack with an iron bar.

Zeshan Khan, 23, was given the maximum community punishment available when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.

He was convicted last month of attacking two brothers in a feud between factions of Edinburgh's Asian community.

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But his father, ex-Labour councillor and former Lothian and Borders police board member Shami Khan, insisted his son was innocent.

He also suggested that Zeshan had been targeted because of his own outspoken views on racism within Scotland's police.

He claimed the police investigation was flawed, and pointed out that none of the jury which found his son guilty were from an ethnic minority.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Khan vowed to clear his son's name and said the conviction has "ended his life".

He said: "I feel very strongly that my son hasn't done anything.

"It's happened because of my status because I said the Scottish police authorities are institutionally racist. I stand by that. There are eight police authorities and only 116 officers are from the minorities.

"I will fight one day to clear my son's name and I'm going to talk to my lawyer. There are flaws in the law and justice system."

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police denied Mr Khan's claims. He said: "The case was investigated thoroughly and the report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal who decided that there was enough evidence for it to go before Sheriff and jury trial."

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Zeshan Khan's attack on February 28 left Khalid Hussain, 29, needing five staples in his head. Mr Hussain told the court last month that he and his brother Tahir were in a takeaway restaurant when Khan began acting aggressively towards them.

He said after they left the shop, Khan ran across Marchmont Road towards him with an iron bar. Khan struck him on the elbow with the bar, and then again on the head.

When Tahir, 21, tried to come between them, Khan tried to hit him, but then ran to his car and drove off after passing motorists sounded heir horns.

Khalid had five staples put in a head wound and his left arm put in a sling.

Khan said the brothers were among those named to police by his father over accusations of vandalism and claimed they made up the assault story as part of a "vendetta".

Defence solicitor George More told Sheriff Nigel Morrison QC today that Khan was a "good person from a good family" as he appealed for him not to be jailed.

Mr More said Khan and his family had been left "devastated" by the conviction, which has affected his sleep and mental health.

Testimonial letters from the Chairman of the Pakistani Society and the director of the Central Mosque said Khan was "well-behaved" and "respectful".

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Khan, who has lost his job with Lloyds TSB as a result of the conviction, hopes to go to university to study business management.

Mr More added: "Although he does not accept his guilt, he accepts the conviction.

"This is the worst experience of his life."

Khan, of Mountcastle Crescent, was found guilty at the end of a two-day jury trial of two charges of assault, possession of an offensive weapon and breach of the peace.

In March, Shami Khan was cleared of wrongdoing over comments he made about "institutional racism" in Lothian and Borders Police following his son's arrest outside a city nightclub in a separate incident.