Rana acquitted in Mumbai terror attacks case, found guilty of supporting LeT

PTI Chicago | Updated on March 12, 2018

Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana was today acquitted by a US court on charges of plotting the Mumbai attacks but was found guilty of supporting Pakistan-based terror group LeT and planning a strike in Denmark.

A 12-member jury here ruled that 50-year-old Rana was not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed, and which carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Announcing the verdict at the end of two days of deliberations, the US District Judge, Mr Harry D. Leinenweber, said Rana was guilty of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba and plotting to bomb a Danish newspaper which had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Rana faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the two counts combined and remains in federal custody without bond, a US Justice Department statement said.

No sentencing date was set.

“A Federal Court jury has convicted defendant Rana on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Denmark terrorism plot and one count of providing material support to LeT, and not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks,” said the Justice Department spokesman, Mr Randall Samborn.

Rana, who was a co-accused in the Mumbai attacks with David Headley, was stunned to hear the verdict. His lawyers 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.

“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,” Mr Blegan said.

He said the government emphasised on the secretly taped car conversation between Rana and Headley, the star witness during the trial. He 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 Rana. We believe he was not guilty. The jury came to another decision. We respect their decision, but we think they got it wrong,” Mr Blegan said.

The verdict came nearly three weeks of trial of Rana at the Chicago court.

“One of the big issues could be whether these (sentences) could be run consecutively. That is something that could be part of the motion,” said Mr 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.

Prosecutors alleged Rana, a military doctor-turned businessman, was aware of the Mumbai attacks and was in contact with the terror groups and their leaders in Pakistan.

Rana’s attorney, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty and said that Pakistani-American Headley, an all time liar, had fooled him.

The judge ordered the defence to file post-trial motions by August 15.

Headley had entered into a plea bargain with US authorities to testify against other suspects in order to avoid the death penalty and being extradited to India, Pakistan and Denmark.

Mr Blegan said, “We do not know what the jury was thinking.” He said the jury decided that there was no death involved due to Rana providing material support to LeT.

“This is a split verdict. Mumbai part of the verdict is very significant as jury did not find him guilty in the terrorists attacks,” he said.

Those present in the court room were the US attorney, Mr Patrick Fitzgerald, and assistant attorney, Mr Daniel Collins, and Mr Vicky Peters, defense attorney, Mr Blegen, Rana’s wife Samraz Rana their two daughters and mother of Samraz. Mr Blegan and Rana family members looked tense and crestfallen.

Published on June 10, 2011

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