A former GW graduate student is currently being held by Immigration and Naturalization Services after the D.C. jail mistakenly released him last month. Khushal Khan, who was being held on charges of threatening to kill President George W. Bush, turned himself in days after his release.
Khan studied at GW from fall 1999 until spring 2001. He was working on a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Science and was two courses shy of fulfilling his degree requirements, according to officials in the registrar’s office.
Khan, whose student visa was previously revoked for unauthorized travel to Pakistan, is at least the second former GW graduate student to face deportation hearings in the last year. INS officials arrested and detained Sultan Rasheed Al-Zaabi for visa violations in February, after he was caught with fraudulent identification on an off-limits road near the Pentagon.
Khan, 32, pleaded guilty to sending Bush an e-mail with the heading “I will kill you” shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. According to an affidavit by a Secret Service agent, Khan also wrote, “If I am forced to go home, I swear to God I will try to blow your place up.”
He pleaded guilty to copying the message to First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne Cheney.
The Post reported that Khan was sentenced to 11 months in jail last fall.
In a handwritten letter delivered to The Hatchet over the summer, Khan called the incident “a silly prank.”
INS filed two detainer forms with the D.C. Department of Corrections to confirm that the jail would hold Khan after he completed his sentence so he could attend deportation hearings. However, the Department of Corrections records office mistakenly released him, department officials confirmed.
“The detainer was on file with the Department of Corrections, but not in his institutional jacket,” said Darryl J. Madden, chief of communications for the D.C. Department of Corrections. “We are the central holding facility for all the federal agencies in the D.C. area. We handle federal inmates all the time . this is a case of human error.”
Instead of being released, Khan should have been delivered to federal authorities for deportation proceedings, Madden said.
Madden said Khan turned himself in to INS and has not returned to the Department of Corrections. According to the Post, Khan contacted INS and surrendered within days of his release last month.
“We are not responsible for students once they graduate,” said Angela Snyder, associate director of the International Services Office at GW.
She said GW assists students with immigration and personal issues along with providing academic support services.
“Those support services include new student orientations, support groups in collaboration with the University Counseling Center, English conversation groups and one-on-one immigration advising appointments,” Snyder said.
An INS hearing for Khan is scheduled for Friday, according to the Post.
This article appeared in the September 19, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.