We will appeal against conviction: Rana`s attorneys
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Last Updated: Friday, June 10, 2011, 10:04
  
Chicago: Attorneys of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana , who was convicted Thursday by a US court for providing material support to LeT and helping a terror plot in Denmark, said they would appeal against the verdict as there was an error in the trial.

Rana's attorney Patrick Blegan said he would file post-trial motions that there was not enough evidence to convict him and that there was an error in the trial.

The jury of a Chicago court found Rana, 50, guilty of providing material support to Pakistan-based LeT and helping a terror plot in Denmark. He, however, was acquitted by the court on charges of abetting Mumbai terror attacks.

"Each of the count, for which Rana has been convicted, carries a maximum imprisonment of 15 years. Because the jury found no death resulting for the final count 12 (providing material support to LeT) there is no maximum of life sentence.

Maximum is 15 (years) for each count," Blegan said. He said the government emphasised on the secretly taped car conversation between Rana and David Coleman Headley, a co-accused in the Mumbai attack case.

Blegan said there is a huge contradiction in the verdict as LeT is primarily involved in Mumbai and not in Denmark.

"But the Government's evidence was that at least Lashkar was also involved in Denmark plot for a short period of time. Sound that the jury agreed to that," he said.

"Obviously we are extremely disappointed. We believe in Mr Rana. We believe he was not guilty. The jury came to another decision. We respect their decision, but we think they got it wrong," Blegan said.

"One of the big issues could be weather these (sentences) could be run consecutively. That is something that could be part of the motion," said Charles Swift, Rana's other attorney.

"We will argue that (to run the two sentences consecutively) because they involve exact same conduct but it will be up to the judge," he said.

Blegan said count 12 related to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) could have involved Mumbai, jury decided that it didn't.

"It is our view that it did not because no death resulted from this conduct of providing material support to LeT," he said.

Blegan said "yes" when asked if he is going to appeals first.

"We have 60 days to file post trial motions. Those are the motions attacking the verdict," he said.

"I did not have enough time to think about it, frankly, we may have an argument that these are conflicting verdicts, but we need some time to review it and think about it," he said.

Meanwhile, Blegen said he considers the verdict on the Mumbai terrorist attack was a very significant one but he was "disappointed on the other part".

The federal prosecutors had charged that Rana was involved in the conspiracy of the Mumbai terrorist attack, which the jury found was not the case.

"I think the jury followed the evidence. The evidence was clear that Mr Rana did not play a role in the Mumbai accounts," said Swift at a joint press conference with Blegen at the court house just after the verdict was pronounced.

"I think, for us the difficult part is that the terrorism sentencing in the US is such that had Mr Rana for instance was found guilty for the same thing in Denmark, he would be looking at three to five years, whereas in the United States it is possibly 30 (years).

It is hard for us to be excited about that (Mumbai verdict) when our client is potentially facing 30 years for basically buying an airplane tickets," Swift said.

"Based on the jury's findings, Rana was acquitted from any involvement in the Mumbai massacre to begin with. What the jury did decide that he had some knowledge regarding Denmark (terror plot).

Although they did find him guilty of providing material support to LeT, they found that no death resulted.

Based on that LeT was also part of the plot on Denmark, it is clear that the jury only found him guilty on things related to Denmark. We are thankful for the verdict on Mumbai," Swift said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, June 10, 2011, 10:04


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