US govt will not appeal against Rana verdict

Last Updated: Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 00:07

Washington: The US Government will not
appeal against a Chicago court verdict which found
Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana "not guilty" on charges
related to his involvement in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, a
ruling that was received with disappointment by India.

"After sentencing, Rana may appeal his conviction on
the two counts, but the government cannot appeal the jury`s
finding of not guilty on the Mumbai count," a Justice
Department official told a news agency on Saturday.

"It is very common knowledge that the law prevents
the government from appealing a not guilty verdict. A
defendant may appeal a guilty verdict," the official
explained, which is quite contrary to the Indian legal system,
where both the government and the defendant can appeal against
court rulings.

In a verdict that was received with disappointment by
India, the Chicago court on June 19 acquitted Rana on charges
of plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks but held him guilty of
supporting Pakistan-based terror group LeT and planning a
strike in Denmark that will get him a maximum of 30
years in jail.

Both India and the US have expressed disappointment
with the verdict of the 12-member Chicago court jury that
found Rana not guilty on charges of the Mumbai terrorist
attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

"We are disappointed in the not guilty verdict on
the Mumbai attacks," US Attorney, Patrick J Fitzgerald, told
reporters after the Chicago jury gave its verdict on Rana case
which accused him on three counts of terrorism related
charges.

At the same time, the jury found him guilty on the
other two counts of charges that he was involved in the
Denmark terror plot and provided material support to
Lashkar-e-Taiba, designated as a foreign terrorist
organisation.

"We are gratified by the guilty verdict of providing
material support for the Lashkar. And we are gratified by the
guilty verdict to provide material support to the conspiracy
in Denmark," the US attorney said.

"I do not know, the government had the burden of
proof," he said, when asked what went wrong on the 26/11
charges that killed 166 people.

"We put our evidence forward and the jury found that
we did not meet the burden (of proof) there. But they did find
we made our burden proving material support to Lashkar and
they found that we met our burden with regard to attack on
Denmark," Fitzgerald said.

Responding to a question, the US attorney said that
he understands that Rana was acquitted on a very serious
charge related to the Mumbai terrorist attack.

"What we are saying is that we embrace jury`s verdict
and where the jury disagrees with us, we accept that. However,
what they did convict him for was very serious given that he
was supporting Lashkar`s activities in India is very
serious and supporting a plot in Denmark is very serious.

No doubt that he was acquitted of serious conduct and
is convicted of very serious conduct.

We are not going to say, we got everything we
wanted," he noted.

"You could find that the government failed to meet
its burden to the India plot showing the knowledge he had in
advance and they found that we failed to carry that burden so
he was acquitted.

"You will also find separately that we showed our
burden that he was involved in Denmark plot, because there was
more evidence by the time he took steps in Denmark from what
he knew from the India plot," he said.

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

Though acquitted on Mumbai charges, the jury found
Rana guilty of part of the conspiracy related to the terrorist
attack in Denmark and provide material support to
Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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.

Blegan said count 12 related to Lashkar 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
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, June 12, 2011 - 00:07

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