Chicago: Tahawwur Hussain Rana, the
Pakistani Canadian accused in the Mumbai terror attack case,
has claimed before a court here that he provided "material
support" to the terrorists at the behest of the Pakistan
Government and its spy agency ISI and not the terror group
Rana in his defence, which is to be produced before the
court here, said his "alleged illegal acts of providing
material support to terrorists -- were done at the behest of
the Pakistani government and the ISI, not the Lashkar
terrorist organisation," according to court documents.
The documents have been published by Canadian newspaper
Globe and Mail ahead of Rana`s trial that is set to begin on
They reveal that Rana in his defence, which was struck
down by the Illinois court, said: "ISI has authority to act in
India to protect Pakistan`s national interests."
Trying to invoke "Public Authority Defence" wherein a
defendant tries to find shelter under the arguments that his
acts were done at the behest of a government, Rana claimed he
"acted under the authority -- whether actual or apparent-- of
the Pakistani government and the ISI."
Rana also relied on the grand jury testimony of the
co-accused LeT operative David Headley, likely to appear as
witness against him, who claimed involvement of one Major
Iqbal in funding the terror attacks.
"Therefore, he contends, he relied on a public
authority, one that he argues is immune from criminal
prosecution in US courts under the Foreign Sovereign
Immunities Act FSIA)... when he engaged in activities such as
allowing Headley to open a First World Immigration office in
Mumbai," the order of Judge Harry D Leinenweber said.
The court rejected arguments put forth by Rana, saying
his defence that "Pakistani Government and ISI officials
sanctioned his violations of US Federal law is objectively
unreasonable... Defendant acted not in Pakistan or India, but
rather in United States."
"He cited no authority holding that a foreign government
official can sanction an individual living and acting in the
United States to violate US federal law," the court said.
The trial of the Pakistani-Canadian, Mumbai co-accused,
is all set to begin here on May 16 and is likely to be held
for a month.
49-year old Rana is accused of helping David Headley in
setting up his office in Mumbai which the latter used as cover
for his trips to the city for identifying targets.
"The process of seating jurors for the trial has begun,"
US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber said at the court