26/11 Mumbai terror attacks | Key accused Tahawwur Rana wanted a ‘medal’ for ‘top class’ contribution

26/11 Mumbai terror attacks | Key accused Tahawwur Rana wanted a ‘medal’ for ‘top class’ contribution

He stated Indians deserved it, say papers filed by U.S. authorities in a California courtroom

Tahawwur Rana, key accused within the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, wanted it to be conveyed to one of many Pakistani co-conspirators a yr after the 2008 attacks that he deserved a ‘medal’ for ‘top class’ contribution and that the “Indians deserved it,” papers filed by the U.S. authorities in a California courtroom say.

Also learn | Mumbai terror attacks: NIA claims progress in Tahawwur Rana extradition plan

The U.S. authorities advised the courtroom that “the Secretary of State, and not the Court, decides whether the fugitive should be surrendered to the requesting country”.

Rana, wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) within the 2008 terror assault case, is at the moment lodged in a Los Angeles jail and awaits extradition to India.

Following an Illinois courtroom order in June that commuted Rana’s jail sentence (scheduled to recover from in September 2021) as he examined optimistic for COVID-19, federal prosecutors provisionally arrested him within the wake of the pending extradition request from India.

The extradition doc, completely accessed by The Hindu, says that in September 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intercepted a dialog between Rana and David Coleman Headley, one other prime accused that the “nine LeT attackers who had been killed during the attacks should be given Pakistan’s highest military honour”.

The 10 closely armed males, educated by the Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT and officers within the Pakistan safety institution, launched coordinated attacks at 12 areas in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 killing 166 folks together with six Americans. The tenth terrorist — Ajmal Kasab — was caught and later hanged to loss of life at a Pune jail in 2011.

Also learn | U.S. court rejects bail plea of 26/11 accused Tahawwur Rana

On September 28, the U.S. federal prosecutors filed an “extradition memorandum” within the district courtroom of California concerning Rana’s extradition.

“Referring to a 1971 assault on his college in Pakistan, Headley advised Rana, that he believed he was ‘even with the Indians now.’ In response, Rana stated they [the Indian people) deserved it,” the court document said. Rana and Headley attended military high school together in Pakistan and were close friends.

The Pakistani-Canadian citizen who was arrested in 2009 has challenged the extradition and filed a plea in the U.S. court on November 25, court records show. He was convicted for providing material support to the LeT in 2013. Unlike Headley, Rana did not enter into a plea bargain with the U.S. and he was placed under “provisional arrest” after he walked out of prison in June as the jail term that was to end in September 2021 was commuted.

Headley, a prime accused, had entered into a plea bargain with the U.S. soon after his arrest in 2009 and he cannot be extradited to India due to the “double jeopardy” clause which bars punishment for the same crime twice. Rana was acquitted by the jury at the Illinois court of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in India.

On December 4, 2019, in accordance with the provisions of the Extradition Treaty between India and the U.S., the Embassy of India submitted a diplomatic note formally requesting Rana’s extradition.

Also read | Pakistan-origin Canadian rearrested in U.S. on India’s extradition request for role in Mumbai attack

The federal prosecutors informed the U.S. court that “Rana cannot avail himself of the benefits afforded to Headley through Headley’s negotiated plea” and “Rana’s claim that the United States’ decision not to extradite Headley, his co-conspirator, to India is inconsistent and bars his extradition also fails.”

“Double jeopardy [for Rana] likewise doesn’t apply for two causes. First, extradition proceedings usually are not felony proceedings by which the fugitive is entitled to the identical rights accessible throughout felony proceedings…The extradition continuing . . . makes no willpower of guilt or innocence. It is designed solely to set off the beginning of felony proceedings in opposition to an accused; guilt stays to be decided within the courts of the demanding nation,” the doc stated.

“….Second, the constitutional protection against double jeopardy only applies to successive prosecutions by the same sovereign. Unlike Rana, Headley immediately accepted responsibility for his conduct and pleaded guilty to all the charges in the superseding indictment. ..Because Headley fulfilled the required terms, the plea agreement established that Headley would not be extradited to India. Rana’s situation is different because he neither pleaded guilty nor cooperated with the United States,” the doc stated.

Rana, a Chicago-based businessman, helped Headley to open an immigration agency in Mumbai that was used as a cowl to conduct reconnaissance on doable targets that had been attacked in Mumbai.

The doc stated that in 2009, Rana and his co-conspirators continued to plan further attacks in India and commenced to plan attacks of the Copenhagen and Aarhus places of work of the Danish newspaper Morganevisen Jyllands-Posten, in retaliation for its publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Also learn | 26/11 Mumbai terror attack accused Rana not a flight risk, his attorney tells U.S. court

Excerpts from the “extradition memorandum”

Excerpts from the “extradition memorandum” filed by the U.S. prosecutors within the California district courtroom:

Between 2006 and November 2008, Rana conspired along with his childhood pal, David Coleman Headley also called Daood Gilani, and others situated in Pakistan to help the LeT, a U.S.-designated terrorist organisation since 2001, to plan and perform the terrorist attacks that occurred in Mumbai, India, between November 26 and 29, 2008.

Headley’s involvement with LeT predates the Mumbai attacks and on 5 separate events between 2002 and 2005, Headley attended coaching camps organised and operated by the terrorist organisation. “Headley told Rana of his involvement with LeT and the training that he had received from the terrorist organisation.”

In the spring or early summer time of 2006, Headley met LeT members and others and mentioned opening an immigration workplace in Mumbai, India, as cowl for his surveillance actions. “Headley and his co-conspirators agreed that Rana’s business would be an ideal front for their activities because it would allow Headley to travel freely in and out of India and to establish connections with powerful individuals in India.”

In or about June 2006, Headley travelled to Chicago, Illinois, and met Rana and advised him about his affiliation with LeT and his orders to conduct surveillance round Mumbai. After listening to this clarification, Rana agreed to open a Mumbai department workplace of his enterprise to help Headley. The Mumbai department of the Immigration Law Center was funded partially by one of many co-conspirators who helped plan the Mumbai attacks.

After assembly Rana in June 2006, Headley travelled to Pakistan and met LeT members and different co-conspirators and knowledgeable them of Rana’s consent to make use of the Immigration Law Center as a cowl for his actions. He additionally confirmed them the five-year a number of entry enterprise visa that he obtained with Rana’s help.

In or about September 2006, Headley traveled to India and carried out in depth video surveillance of varied areas, together with the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. He later travelled to Pakistan and met LeT members and others, offered them the video recordings he had made, and mentioned the video and surveillance he had carried out in India.

At the instructions of the co-conspirators in Pakistan, Headley returned to Mumbai in February, June and September 2007 and carried out extra surveillance of varied areas. As he had executed months earlier than, Headley once more travelled to Pakistan in December 2007 and met different co-conspirators in Pakistan close to the headquarter places of work of LeT. Headley’s contacts advised him about parts of their assault plans and confirmed him a “Styrofoam mock-up of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.”

In May 2008, Headley met Rana in Chicago over a number of days and advised him in regards to the in depth surveillance that he had carried out in Mumbai. He additionally advised Rana in regards to the touchdown concepts (particularly the place a crew of attackers would land in entrance of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel), his boat journeys in and across the harbour, and his use of the GPS gadget. “According to Headley, Rana smiled and laughed when Headley told him about the landing site in front of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Headley also told Rana about the Styrofoam mock-up his Pakistani contacts had showed him six months earlier. When Headley said he thought the mock-up was ‘terrible,’ Rana smiled and laughed.

Headley explained that the attack plans were being delayed, in part, to wait for calmer waters.

Headley discussed the Mumbai attacks with Rana in the months following the attacks. For example, in December 2008, Headley shared what he had learned from their co-conspirators in Pakistan and told Rana about the different places that had been attacked, reminding him that he (Headley) had made videos of those places. Referring to a 1971 attack on his school in Pakistan, Headley told Rana that he believed he was “even with the Indians now.” In response, Rana stated they (the Indian folks) deserved it.

Also, in September 2009, the FBI intercepted Rana telling Headley that the 9 LeT attackers who had been killed through the attacks ought to get Pakistan’s highest army honour. Rana additionally requested Headley to inform one other co-conspirator in Pakistan — a member of LeT and one of many planners of the Mumbai attacks — that Rana thought that he ought to get a medal “for top class”. When Rana discovered that Headley already had conveyed this praise to their co-conspirator, he was happy.

The Mumbai bombings, nonetheless, didn’t finish the conspiracy between Rana, Headley, LeT members and the opposite co-conspirators. In specific, in 2009, Headley carried out surveillance actions for an meant, however finally foiled, terrorist plot in Denmark, once more utilizing Rana’s enterprise as a cowl. Headley additionally carried out surveillance for potential future terrorist attacks in different components of India.

As he did along with his surveillance in Mumbai, Headley stored Rana apprised of those surveillance actions. Starting no later than 2009, Rana communicated instantly with a few of Headley’s contacts in Pakistan.

On October 3, 2009, the U.S. legislation enforcement arrested Headley in Chicago. Six months later, he pleaded responsible to 12 expenses referring to his actions on behalf of the LeT and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. The Illinois Court finally sentenced Headley to a 35-year time period of imprisonment.

The legislation enforcement arrested Rana on October 18, 2009. He went to trial within the Illinois Court, the place Headley testified for the prosecution. The jury convicted Rana of 1 depend of Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Terrorism in Denmark, and offering assist to LeT. The jury, nonetheless, acquitted Rana of 1 depend of conspiracy to supply materials assist to terrorism in India. The trial choose sentenced Rana to a 168-month time period of imprisonment, and he was scheduled for launch in September 2021.

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