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US govt asks court to reject Rana re-trial plea

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 17:28

Chicago: The US government has asked a court
here to deny Pakistan-born Canadian Tahawwur Rana`s plea for a
new trial in cases related to the Mumbai and Denmark terror
plots, arguing that the court was right in convicting him for
aiding Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In June last year, after a three-week trial, 50-year-old
Rana was convicted of providing material support to the banned
LeT, and of conspiracy to provide material support to
terrorism in connection with a foiled plot involving Danish
newspaper Jyllands Posten.

He was, however, acquitted of charges that he aided the
terrorists who carried out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Rana had appealed for a new trial in September last year
citing that the jury was confused and that he did not get a
fair trial.

According to documents released by the US District Court
of the Northern District of Illinois, the federal government
has argued that the court applied the correct legal standard,
considering the totality of evidence.

The court correctly concluded that even considering
Headley`s statements, probable cause existed, it said.

The government argues that the court particularly noted a
September, 2009 conversation in which Rana and Headley
discussed Denmark as a "target" and said there was significant
evidence regarding the defendant`s knowledge and actions.

The court pointed to "at least four pieces of evidence in
the affidavit (that) buttress this finding".

In the instant motion, defendant argued that, at the time
of Rana`s arrest, the government "only had knowledge regarding
the activities of David Headley".

The government lawyers said the record demonstrated

In the government`s response to the motion, there was
significant evidence regarding the defendant`s knowledge and

In denying defendant`s motion to quash, the Court pointed
to this evidence, which included at least three recorded
conversations in which defendant was a participant,
defendant`s involvement with David Headley`s travel to
Copenhagen and attempts to get Headley a visa.

Thus, the defendant has failed to demonstrate that the
court erred, and that a new trial is warranted, the
prosecution argued.

"In his final argument, defendant concludes, without the
support of law or fact, that the district court erred by
ruling against the defendant before and during trial.

"Defendant, however, fails to offer a single citation or
any explanation for how the Court allegedly erred. This Court
should reject defendant`s undeveloped list of errors
`outright` and find that defendant waived each of the listed
arguments," it said.

"In fact, defendant`s list of errors is so cursory that
the government has no meaningful ability to respond".

In arguing that the government failed to prove its
specific allegations, the defendant Rana simply rehashes his
sufficiency of the evidence argument, it said.

Among other arguments, defendant argues that he lacked
knowledge of Headley`s true activities, and thus neither he
nor Headley constituted "personnel".

However, the government presented substantial evidence of
defendant`s knowledge and participation.

Thus, the evidence demonstrated that defendant had
provided both himself and Headley as "personnel," and that
defendant "concealed" the nature of such support, the
government said.

Based on this evidence, a rational trier of fact could
have, and did, find "the essential elements of the crime
beyond a reasonable doubt".

Defendant`s argument, therefore, is without merit, court
documents stated, they said.

"Because the government need only have proven that
defendant conspired to, or did, provide one form of material
support, the government need not address defendant`s arguments
about the other forms of material support for purposes of this

"The government, however, submits that the evidence
demonstrated each of the forms of material support alleged in
the Second Superseding Indictment and Bill of Particulars.


First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 17:28

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