Tahawwur Hussain Rana says he cannot flee US

Last Updated: Friday, January 8, 2010 - 13:04

Chicago: Pakistani-Canadian terror suspect
Tahawwur Hussain Rana has contended before a US court that
his financial status has taken a beating after his arrest by
FBI and he cannot flee the country as he will not be able to
"fund an international game of hide and seek".

Rana, in a motion filed in a federal court seeking
quashing of his detention order, also claimed that he was a
Pakistani army deserter and will not risk going there because
he might be arrested and court-martialled.

The Chicago businessman, accused of plotting an attack on
a Danish newspaper and also under investigation for possible
links to 26/11 attacks, was denied bail last month by US judge
Nan Nolan, who said he might flee the country if released on
bond to escape a possible 30-year prison term.

Nolan said Rana had knowledge in immigration law and
financial resources to run away from the US.

Responding to Nolan`s concerns that Rana may make use of
his net worth of 1.6 million dollars to flee the US, his
lawyer Patrick Blegen contended that Rana`s "businesses have
effectively been shut down and are worth nowhere near what he
had previously estimated".

"The slaughterhouse and immigration office owned by Rana
had been raided by federal agents. As a result of the raids
and Rana`s detention for the past two months, his businesses
have effectively been shut down".

"Rana offered to post his business as security. So, if he
were released on bond, he would not be able to sell it to fund
his supposed flight," the 14-page motion said.

Rana would only realise 1.6 million dollars if he were
able to sell the businesses at a price of two million dollars,
the lawyer said. If released pending trial, such a sale would
be impossible to conceal from the FBI, he argued.

"The fact of the matter is that Rana cannot remotely fund
an international game of hide and seek with the government.

"While the court`s belief was that Rana`s money would
allow him to survive as a fugitive from justice, it
misunderstood that the estimated net worth was not liquid and
that it would not be available to Rana if he were to be
released on a secured bond," the motion said.

"The suggestion that he has 1.6 million dollars available
to him to fund an escape and flight from justice is simply
wrong. His businesses barely kept their heads above water
prior to his arrest. In the last two months, his businesses
have been all but inoperable, and could provide him with no
funds to flee whatsoever," Blegen said.

He said Rana also cannot use his extensive business
travel and international business ties to escape to another
country. He has turned over his Canadian passport and his
expired Pakistani passport is in the government`s possession.

"If released pending trial, Rana would be under close
monitoring and would also be unable to obtain a new passport".

Further, Rana`s immediate family ties are to Chicago
where his wife and two high school-going children live. Other
conditions such as home detention with electronic monitoring
would also reasonably assure his appearance, the lawyer said.

On another concern raised by Nolan that Rana`s Canadian
citizenship posed a flight risk, Blegen said the extradition
treaty between Canada and US would virtually assure that he
will be swiftly returned if he is able to cross the borders.

While Rana managed his immigration office, he helped a
largely Indian clientele obtain visas to work and live in the
United States. Nothing about his work taught him how to sneak
through borders or evade the numerous restrictions on
international travel that currently exist, he said.

In light of the publicity his case has already received,
there is absolutely no chance that Rana would be able to get
on a plane bound for another country without detection by the
FBI, CIA, TSA or Pretrial Services, the lawyer argued.

"He would not flee the country leaving his family behind
and subjecting them to police scrutiny. Here, Rana`s incentive
is not to flee and live his life away from his family and in
ignominy. Rather, he wants only to clear his and his family`s
name by contesting the government`s allegations in court."

The motion also said that Rana will not try to go to
Pakistan as he is a deserter. While serving as a physician in
the Pakistani military, Rana was transported to high-elevation
in the Northern Areas without proper acclimatisation and high
altitude pulmonary edema, it said adding, he deserted the
force when he was denied extended leave for treatment.

PTI



First Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 - 13:04

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