US court sets March 29 as next date of hearing of Rana case

Last Updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 22:07

Chicago: A US court has set March 29 as the
next date of hearing the case of Pakistani-Canadian LeT
operative Tahawwur Hussein Rana, accused of providing material
support to terror plots, including the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

At the court hearing here yesterday, Rana appeared in the
orange present suit with shackled legs and looked thinner and
pale.
US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was also present for the
hearing for the first time since the court case began.

The court set March 29 as the next date of hearing during
which the prosecution and defence will begin the process of
examining classified information in the case and how it can be
used in the trial.

The March 29 hearing will be a partially closed door
meeting.

Earlier on January 15, 49-year old Rana was indicted by a
federal grand jury here along with American citizen David
Coleman Headley on charges of preparing the groundwork and
providing material support for the LeT to carry out the Mumbai
terror attack.
In its 12-count superseding indictment against Headley
and Rana, the jury had given extensive details of the planning
of the Mumbai attack by the LeT and how its leaders guided the
terrorists during the four-day siege beginning November 26,
2008 that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

Chicago`s top prosecutor personally handling Rana case

Chicago`s top federal prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald`s personal appearance in a US court hearing
the Headley-Rana terror case is an indication that the US is
attaching high importance to the trial of LeT operatives
accused of plotting the Mumbai attack.

Fitzgerald, considered an expert in terror cases, has so
far personally prosecuted just one case as Chicago`s top
prosecutor since 2001 -- that of Muslim charity leader Enaam
Arnaut, who prosecutors said was linked to al-Qaida.

Arnaut had pleaded guilty in 2003 to a racketeering
charge and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The US Attorney in Chicago was present in court yesterday
for the status hearing of terror suspect Tahawwur Hussain Rana
and is personally handling the terrorism case of LeT
operatives Rana and David Coleman Headley.

This was Fitzgerald`s first appearance on behalf of the
government in court since the case began last year when
Headley and Rana were arrested for conspiring in terror
attacks in India and Denmark.

Fitzgerald made a personal appearance to tell the court
that some of the evidence in the terror case will be handled
under strict rules because it is considered classified.

His appearance before a judge in the federal courtroom
made it clear he is adding a second: what authorities have
called one of the most significant terrorism cases in the
country, the Chicago Sun Times said.

Fitzgerald, considered by his peers an expert in terror
cases, is part of the team prosecuting the 2008 bombings in
Mumbai. Assistant US Attorneys Daniel Collins and Vicki Peters
are also on the team.

Headley, who is cooperating with the government in the
investigation, and Rana have pleaded not guilty to the terror
charges.

PTI




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