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Rana charged in Chicago, 26/11 trial to begin on May 16

Source: PTI
May 05, 2011 15:21 IST
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Pakistani Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, co-accused in the Mumbai terror attack case, was arraigned in Chicago on Thursday for the trial that is set to begin on May 16.

Clad in an orange jumpsuit, Rana appeared in the Dirksen federal courthouse, looking around and exchanging pleasantries with his attorneys.

Rana's attorney Patrick Blegen told judge Leinenweber that he required time to translate about a 1000 pages of Urdu text in preparation for the trial set for May 16.

The next status hearing is set for May 11, after which there will be jury selection.

Opening statements by both the prosecutors and defence will be presented on May 23.

While co-accused David Headley has pleaded guilty in plotting the carnage, Rana has pleaded not guilty in providing material support to the attack.

Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts on February 15 last year for planning out the carnage, providing material support to the Lashkar e Tayiba to carry out the bombings, and guiding Headley in scouting targets in Mumbai in the process.

Headley, who was originally Daood Gilani, changed his name in order to carry out the carnage without being caught.

Rana, who had served as a doctor in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps before he migrated to Canada, is also accused of plotting an attack with Headley on a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.

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 filed on May 2, Rana objected to the government's jury instructions and said the government understates the benefits that Headley has received from the government in this case.

As made clear in Headley's 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)".

Furthermore, Headley received numerous small benefits from the government during his post-arrest interview and proffer sessions normally not provided to those in custody, including hotel accommodations, specially arranged meals, and visits and phone calls with his wife and children, the documents state.

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