Headley, Rana kept under strict security in the lockup
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 13:33
Chicago: Terror suspects David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, who are facing charges of conspiring 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, spend "virtually" 24 hours a day in a small cell and cannot move around without guards, a situation their lawyers describe as "difficult and unfortunate".

Headley and Rana, who have pleaded not guilty to plotting and providing material support to the Mumbai attacks and a terror plot in Denmark, are under the three-man hold policy at the lockup, which means they cannot move from one place to the other without being escorted by three correctional officers.

Held at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre (MCC) here since their arrests in October last year, Headley and Rana are not in contact with each other and not meeting or even eating in the same area.

The two, old friends from a military school in Pakistan, are confined to their cells virtually all the time, their lawyers said.

Headley's lawyer John Theis termed his condition at the MCC as "unfortunate".

"I say unfortunate because the floor that Headley is on is the same floor that they put people who are there either because of their own conduct or because of security problems," Theis said.

"Headley is not accused of doing anything within the institution that would cause him to be a security problem. It is not an easy situation on the security floor," he added.

Theis said such an arrangement impacts the defence as it "obviously slows down the process and makes it difficult every time we meet with him".

The situation is no different for Rana, who is on a floor on the MCC that is designated for people who have committed some offence within the institution.

"He is under very strict rules and requirements. It is a very difficult situation and we are hoping that he can concentrate on assisting us in fighting the case since the MCC is not a great place to be," Rana's lawyer Patrick Blegen said.

Like Headley, Rana is in a very small room all by himself for almost 24 hours a day.

Visiting him at the MCC is much more difficult than visiting a typical inmate at the lock-up, Blegen said. So far only Rana's wife Samraz Akhtar Rana has been able to visit him. His three children have not visited him yet.

Theis said he has been in discussion with the government about "some specific things that actually we had some minor changes that have made things easier for him and for us and we are going to continue those discussions".


First Published: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 13:33

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