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Updated: June 11, 2011 02:20 IST

Rana convicted of aiding Lashkar

Praveen Swami
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In this June 7, 2011courtroom sketch, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana is shown in federal court in Chicago.
AP In this June 7, 2011courtroom sketch, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana is shown in federal court in Chicago.

Acquitted of involvement in Mumbai attack

Pakistani-Canadian businessman Tahawwur Husain Rana, charged with facilitating the November 2008 attack in Mumbai, has been convicted of providing material support to the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as conspiring to stage a terrorist strike against Copenhagen.

Rana was, however, acquitted of charges that he played a direct role in the Mumbai attack. The 50-year-old Chicago resident now faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail, the United States Department of Justice said in a press release.

Prosecutors had charged Rana with three terror-related crimes: participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to terror in India; conspiring to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark; and providing material support to the Lashkar.

Rana had, the prosecutors said, conspired with Lashkar intelligence operative David Headley “to provide personnel, tangible property, money, and false documentation and identification, and to conceal and disguise the nature of such support to those who planned and carried out the Mumbai attacks.”

Even though juries in the United States do not have to provide reasons for their decisions, the 12 women and men who ruled on Rana's case appear to have been unconvinced by Headley's testimony that he discussed plans to attack Mumbai with his childhood friend.

Lawyers for Rana pointed out that the businessman was in Mumbai with his children and wife just days before the attack —evidence apparently inexplicable if he had prior knowledge of the strike.

However, a mass of evidence — including e-mail and intercepted conversations — showed that Rana was aware of, and willing to support, Headley's operations on behalf of the Lashkar and Pakistan's intelligence services.

Rana's lawyer Patrick Blegan said the defence would appeal the judgment. He insisted that his client was not guilty. “The jury came to another decision. We respect their decision, but we think they got it wrong,” he said.

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