Legal News

U.S. court rejects bail plea of 26/11 accused Tahawwur Rana, a close associate of David Coleman Headley.

The Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman was declared a fugitive by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

A U.S. court has rejected the USD 1.5 million bail application of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, who has been declared a fugitive by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case, describing him a flight risk.
Rana, 59, a childhood friend of David Coleman Headley, was re-arrested on June 10 in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.

Describing Rana as a flight risk, the US government opposed his release on bail, arguing that if he were to flee to Canada, he might escape the possibility of a death sentence in India.
Given the stakes, an allowance of bail in any amount would not guarantee Rana’s presence in court. Granting bail would invite the possibility of embarrassing the United States in the conduct of its foreign affairs, straining its relationship with India, Assistant US Attorney John J Lulejian had told the court.
On the other hand, Rana’s attorney told the court that he is not a flight risk and has proposed a USD 1.5 million bond for his release.
Rana, in his defence, has argued that the US’ decision not to extradite his co-conspirator, Headley, to India is inconsistent and bars his extradition.
While Rana has presented a robust bail package and proffered conditions which significantly mitigate the risk of flight, the court cannot find that he has negated the risk of flight and accordingly grants the Detention Request (of the government) on that basis, Judge Chooljian said.

For someone facing conspiracy to murder and murder charges in India, the incentive to flee to avoid extradition is strong, the court said.

If he flees to Canada, he could effectively avoid exposure to the death penalty as such country’s extradition treaty with India contains a provision which allows extradition to be refused if the offence for which extradition is requested is punishable by death in India and is not punishable by death in Canada unless India gives assurances that a death penalty would not be executed, federal prosecutors had said.
“There is no question in the court’s mind that given Rana’s significant foreign ties, particularly to Canada, and the potential death penalty awaiting him in India if he is extradited on and convicted of the most serious pending charges, he is a flight risk,” the court said.

According to the federal prosecutors, between 2006 and November 2008, Rana conspired with Headley, also known as “Daood Gilani, and others in Pakistan to assist Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harakat ul-Jihad-e-Islami, both US-designated terrorist organisations, to plan and carry out the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Pakistani-American LeT terrorist Headley was involved in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. He was made an approver in the case and is currently serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in the attack.
India seeks his arrest on several offences, including the conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating, and murder under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). He is sought for his role in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
The 2008 Mumbai attack was one of India’s most horrific terrorist attacks in which 166 people were killed, and over 300 injured as ten heavily-armed terrorists from Pakistan created mayhem.

Source: The Hindu

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