An IIPM Initiative
Thursday, October 6, 2022
 
 

Rana convicted of aiding LeT

 

PTI | Chicago, US, June 10, 2011 15:52
Tags : acquitted Tahawwur Rana | charges of plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks | guilty of supporting Pakistan-based terror group LeT | planning a strike in Denmark | 12-member jury |US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber | Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people | six Americans | Pakistani-Canadian | US Justice Department spokesman Randall Samborn |Patrick Blegan | US Attorney Patrick J Fitzgerald | controversial plea | mprisonment of 15 years |
 

In a verdict that was received with disappointment by India, a US court on Friday acquitted Tahawwur Rana on charges of plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks but held him guilty of supporting Pakistan-based terror group LeT and planning a strike in Denmark that will get him a maximum of 30 years in jail.

A 12-member jury here reached a split verdict after two days of deliberations and ruled that 50-year-old Pakistani-Canadian was not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people, including six Americans. If he was convicted on this count, he could have received a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Announcing the verdict, US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber said Rana was guilty of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which had carried out the 26/11 attacks, and plotting to bomb Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper which had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Rana faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the two counts combined and remains in federal custody without bond, a US Justice Department statement said. No sentencing date was set.

Reacting to the verdict, the Indian government expressed "disappointment" over Rana's acquittal on charges of plotting the Mumbai attacks and said it will soon take a decision on filing a charge sheet against him and LeT operative David Headley in an Indian court.

"We are disappointed that Rana was acquitted on the count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks," Secretary, Internal Security in the Ministry of Home Affairs, U K Bansal, said in a statement in New Delhi.

US Justice Department spokesman Randall Samborn earlier said: "A Federal Court jury has convicted defendant Rana on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Denmark terrorism plot and one count of providing material support to LeT, and not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks."

The verdict left Rana, who was dressed in white shirt and checkered olive blazer, stunned. His lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling as there was an "error" in the trial. The jurors, who were not identified, declined to speak to the media to explain their split verdict, which defence attorneys called conflicting.

Rana's attorney Patrick Blegan said he would file post-trial motions that there was not enough evidence to convict him and that there was an error in the trial. "Obviously we are extremely disappointed. We believe in Rana. We believe he was not guilty. The jury came to another decision. We respect their decision, but we think they got it wrong," Blegan said.

After the jury gave its verdict, US Attorney Patrick J Fitzgerald said the acquittal of Rana, who was a co-accused in the Mumbai attacks with Headley, from charges that he was involved in the 26/11 terror attacks was disappointing.

"We are disappointed in the not guilty verdict on the Mumbai attacks," he told reporters. At the same time, he said they were "gratified" that the jury found Rana guilty of involvement in plotting a terror attack in Denmark and providing material support to LeT, designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organisation.

He also justified the controversial plea bargain deal cut with Headley that spared him the death penalty and extradition to India, saying that not doing the pact would have been a "terrible mistake". Each of the count, for which Rana has been convicted, carries a maximum imprisonment of 15 years, Rana's attorney Blegan said.



"Because the jury found no death resulting for the final count 12 (providing material support to LeT) there is no maximum of life sentence. Maximum is 15 (years) for each count," he said. He said the government emphasised on the secretly taped car conversation between Rana and Headley, the star witness during the trial.

Blegan said there is a huge contradiction in the verdict as LeT is primarily involved in Mumbai and not in Denmark. "But the government's evidence was that at least Lashkar was also involved in Denmark plot for a short period of time. Sound that the jury agreed to that," he said.

The verdict came after nearly three weeks of trial of Rana at the Chicago court.

"One of the big issues could be whether these (sentences) could be run consecutively. That is something that could be part of the motion," said Charles Swift, Rana's other attorney. "We will argue that (to run the two sentences consecutively) because they involve exact same conduct but it will be up to the judge," he said.

Prosecutors alleged that Rana, a military doctor-turned businessman, was aware of the Mumbai attacks and was in contact with the terror groups and their leaders in Pakistan. Rana's attorney, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty and said that Pakistani-American Headley was an all time liar and had fooled him.

The judge ordered the defence to file post-trial motions by August 15.

 

Blegan said, "We do not know what the jury was thinking." He said the jury decided that there was no death involved due to Rana providing material support to LeT.

"This is a split verdict. Mumbai part of the verdict is very significant as jury did not find him guilty in the terrorists attacks," he said.

Among those present in the court room were US attorney Fitzgerald and assistant attorneys Daniel Collins and Vicky Peters, defence attorney Blegen, Rana's wife Samraz Rana, their two daughters and mother of Samraz. Blegan and Rana's family members looked tense and crestfallen.

"The message should be clear to all those who help terrorists — we will bring to justice all those who seek to facilitate violence," said Fitzgerald, US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

He, however said, "We are disappointed in the not guilty verdict on the Mumbai attacks." "I do not know, the government had the burden of proof," he told reporters when asked what went wrong on the 26/11 charges.

"We put our evidence forward and the jury found that we did not meet the burden (of proof) there. But they did find we made our burden proving material support to Lashkar and they found that we met our burden with regard to attack on Denmark," Fitzgerald said.

In his final arguments, Collins urged the jury that "those who died in Mumbai demand justice. You (the jury) will find the truth that this man knew that his trained terrorist friend (Headley) was bent on killing people."


Rate this article:
Bad Good    
Current Rating 0
 
 
Post CommentsPost Comments




Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017