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


First Published: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 22:07

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