US court acquits Rana in 26/11 case

Last Updated: Friday, June 10, 2011 - 18:06

Chicago: Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana was acquitted by a US court on charges of abetting Mumbai terror attacks but was convicted for providing material support to LeT and helping a terror plot in Denmark.



The 12-member jury announced the verdict on Thursday at the end of two days of deliberations against 50-year-old Rana, a co-accused in the Mumbai attack with David Coleman Headley.



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.



Verdict was announced by US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber shortly after 4-30 pm in the court room.

Justice Department spokesman Randall Samborn 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 Lashkar-e-Taiba, and not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November
2008."



Rana, who was brought in the court from the local
prison at 4.30pm, was stunned after the verdict was
pronounced.



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



Prosecutors alleged Rana was aware of the Mumbai
terror strike and was in contact with the terrorist groups and their leaders in Pakistan. Rana`s attorney, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty and said that Headley, an all time liar, had fooled him.
Pakistani-American Headley, 50, was the government`s
star witness during the trial.



Headley had entered into a plea bargain with US
authorities to testify against other suspects in order to
avoid the death penalty and being extradited to India,
Pakistan and Denmark.



In its statement the Justice Department said Rana, a
Pakistani native who operated a Chicago-based immigration
business was convicted today of participating in conspiracy
involving a terrorism plot against a Danish newspaper and
providing material support to a terrorist organisation based
in Pakistan.



"The defendant, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, was found
guilty by a federal jury that deliberated two days following a
trial that began May 16 in US District Court. The jury acquitted Rana of conspiracy to provide material support to the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people, including six Americans," it said.
The judge ordered the defence to file post-trial motions by August 15.



Patrick Blegan, Rana`s Attorney, said, "We do not know
what the jury was thinking."



He said, "We are disappointed". Blegan said this
sentencing could result in a maximum of 30 years of
imprisonment, 15 years for each of the two count in which Rana
was found guilty.
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.



Those present in the court room were US attorney
Patrick Fitzgerald and assistant attorney Daniel Collins and
Vicky Peters, Defense attorney Blegen, Rana`s wife Samraz Rana
their two daughters and mother of Samraz. Blegan and Rana
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 Patrick J Fitzgerald, United States
Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.



"Today`s verdict demonstrates our commitment to hold
accountable not only terrorist operatives, but also those who
facilitate their activities. As established at trial, Rana
provided valuable cover and support to David Headley, knowing
that Headley and others were plotting terror attacks
overseas," said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General
for National Security.



"We will not rest in our efforts to identify and bring
to justice those who provide support to terrorists," he said.



"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,"
Collins urged the jury in his final arguments.



PTI



First Published: Friday, June 10, 2011 - 18:06
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