Pak terror suspect Rana arraigned in Chicago court
Chicago: Pakistani Canadian businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana, accused of providing material support for November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks blamed on Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been arraigned for his trial starting May 16.
Clad in an orange jumpsuit, Rana Wednesday appeared in a Chicago federal court where his attorney Patrick Blegen told the judge that he required time to translate about a 1000 pages of Urdu text in preparation for the trial.
Jury will be selected after the next status hearing May 11. Opening statements by the prosecutors and defence will be presented May 23.
While Pakistani American David Headley, who scouted targets for the Mumbai attack, has confessed to his role, Rana who is accused of providing Headley the cover of his immigration business, has not pleaded guilty.
Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts Feb 15 last year for his role in planning the attack, providing material support to LeT to carry out the assault, and helping Headley.
Headley, son of a Pakistani father and American mother had changed his given name of Daood Gilani, two years before the attack to carry out his mission without arousing suspicion.
If convicted, Rana faces a possible life sentence. On April 25, in a second superseding indictment, US prosecutors charged four additional men, all Pakistani residents, in the 26/11 terror attacks that left 166 dead including six Americans.
According to court documents, Rana objected to government's jury instructions and said that the government had understated the benefits that Headley has received from the government in return for his confession.
Under his plea agreement, Headley is also avoiding extradition to India, Denmark, or Pakistan for his conduct, "so long as he fully discloses all material facts concerning his role with respect to (his) offenses and abides by all other aspects of (the plea agreement)".
Rana, who had served as a doctor in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps before he migrated to Canada, is also accused in plotting an attack with Headley on Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published allegedly derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.