Convicted Tahawwur Rana loses retrial plea

Jun 12, 2012, 10:03 IST | Agencies

A Chicago court has dismissed a retrial plea by Pakistan born Canadian Tahawwur Rana, convicted of providing material support to Pakistan based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT), blamed for November 2008 Mumbai terror attack. His sentencing was set for Dec 4


While a jury acquitted Rana on June 10, 2011 of involvement in the 26/11 attack that killed more than 160 people, it found him guilty of helping LeT for an aborted plot to bomb a Danish newspaper for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
Rana's trial featured testimony from the government's star witness -- his boyhood friend, David Coleman Headley, who has confessed to his role in the Mumbai attack and the Denmark plot. Son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley changed his given name Daood Sayed Gilani, to scout targets for the Mumbai. He was arrested and found guilty much before Rana, but his sentencing is yet to be announced.
In affirming Rana's conviction, Illinois District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber Monday noted the jury had been presented with contrasting pictures of him.
The prosecution portrayed Rana, 51, as a man who knowingly supported his lifelong friend as Headley travelled the world plotting and preparing terrorist attacks, the judge noted.
In contrast, the defence painted him as an ambitious businessman manipulated by a friend into unwittingly providing cover for terrorist plots.
But "a rational jury could have concluded that Rana knowingly conspired to -- and did -- provide material support to the Denmark plot by furnishing Headley with business cards and supporting his business cover, and by providing Headley with logistical support for his travels and plots," he ruled.

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