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
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,"
"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
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".