Fearing “danger” from global terror groups and possible media “harassment”, U.S. federal prosecutors want the jurors’ identities to remain anonymous in the trial of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, charged in connection with the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
“The jurors could have a reasonable fear they would be in danger if global terror groups learned their names,” ‘The Chicago Sun-Times’ said, quoting a filing by prosecutors here last week.
At a status hearing held on January 7, US District Judge Harry Leinenweber had moved the trial date for Rana, 49, a Chicago-based businessman, from February 14 to May 16.
Prosecutors also said the foreign press -- particularly Indian and Danish media -- may provide extensive coverage of the trial, raising the chance that jurors’ names would become public and it could expose them to harassment, according to the paper.
Rana and co-defendant David Coleman Headley, a LeT operative, have been charged with providing material support for the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
Headley, reportedly a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant, allegedly travelled as a representative of Rana’s Chicago-based immigration service to scout locations for the Mumbai attacks.
Rana, a Pakistan-born Canadian citizen, along with Headley, 50, was arrested by FBI on charges of plotting terrorist attacks in India and Denmark.
Apart from the Mumbai strikes, the pair was charged in the unsuccessful plot to attack employees of a newspaper in Denmark for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. The code name for that plot was the ‘Mickey Mouse Project’, prosecutors say.
Headley -- who pleaded guilty in March 2010 and is cooperating with authorities -- awaits sentencing. Rana’s trial has been set for May.
Headley and Rana are residents of this city, with Rana running an immigration consultancy agency in Devon here.
Rana had made several trips to India in the past several years along with his school-time friend Headley.