Tahawwur Rana will remain in US federal custody
In a setback to India’s application for extradition, a Los Angeles Court on Thursday decided to keep the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack accused Tahawwur Rana in US custody. India’s attempts were not supported by the US to extradite Rana and David Headley, the two masterminds in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack which killed more than 160 people. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian on Thursday ordered the defence attorneys and prosecutors to file additional documents by July 15. Rana, a Pakistani born Canadian will remain in federal custody.
Indian agencies charged that Rana conspired with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley to assist the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or “Army of the Good,” in the orchestration of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people and injured more than 200 and caused USD 1.5 billion in damage. Headley and Rana attended military high school in Pakistan together. Rana’s immigration law centre in Chicago, which had a branch office in Mumbai, was allegedly used as a front for their terrorism activities between 2006 and 2008.
US prosecutors, however, failed to prove that Rana had directly supported the Mumbai attacks.
Rana’s attorneys said their client was not aware of Headley’s terrorism plot and was merely trying to help his childhood friend set up a Mumbai business office. They also said Headley is a serial liar who has deceived the US government multiple times in several criminal cases, and his testimony should not be viewed as credible. The attorneys alleged that Headley had used Rana to further his terrorism efforts without Rana’s knowledge. Rana’s two daughters attended the hearing. They declined to comment, as did his lawyers.
In 2011, Rana was convicted in the Federal Court in Illinois of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark for a thwarted plot to attack a Danish newspaper to retaliate for its publication of cartoons that depicted the Prophet Mohamed in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam.
US prosecutors, however, failed to prove that Rana had directly supported the Mumbai attacks. Rana’s defence attorneys, in court papers, say because he has been acquitted of the Mumbai-related charges in the US, extraditing him to India would be tantamount to double jeopardy. Rana was sentenced to a 14-year prison term in a Denmark-related case, but his punishment was reduced to time served in June 2020 after he claimed he had contracted the Coronavirus in a federal California prison, court documents show. He was ordered released but was held on an immigration detainer so he could not return to Canada to avoid the Indian extradition request.
Headley ultimately testified against Rana in the Illinois case after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder. As part of his plea deal, he can’t be extradited to India.
[With inputs from Associated Press]
 Tahawwur Rana Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison For Supporting Pakistani Terror Group And Terror Plot In Denmark – Jan 17, 2013, US Dept of Justice
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