Chicago Businessman Faces Trial in Mumbai Terrorist Attack


The crime scene is thousands of miles away, but the details of the plot will soon unfold in a courtroom here when a Chicago businessman stands trial on charges that he aided in the bloody terrorist attack in Mumbai, India.
Tahawwur Hussain Rana is alleged to have provided a cover for the scout who checked out locations for the deadly rampage and acted as a messenger for the terrorist group allegedly behind the 2008 attack.

The case has taken on added significance since the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, which has brought renewed attention to Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorism as a key US ally. Testimony is also expected to reveal a link between at least one of Rana's co-defendants and Pakistan's largest intelligence agency.
The federal trial will pit childhood friends against each other. The government's star witness, David Coleman Headley, who met Rana when the two attended a Pakistani military school in their youth, pleaded guilty to scouting targets for the Mumbai assault and agreed to cooperate with authorities to avoid the death penalty.
Prosecutors have also charged six others, including five with ties to terrorist groups such as Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. All of them are fugitives, leaving Rana the lone defendant to face trial in federal court for the bloody attack on India's largest city in which about 170 people were killed, including six US citizens, and hundreds of others were wounded.
"It's obviously important," James Kreindler, a New York attorney who represents Mumbai victims in a pending civil lawsuit against Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba, said of the criminal trial set to begin Monday with jury selection. "Any person who loses a family member to an act of mass murder wants to see the guilty convicted and punished."
Federal authorities also charged Rana and Headley in a plot — never carried out — to bomb a newspaper office in Copenhagen. According to the charges, the plot followed calls by Al Qaeda for attacks on Danish interests to avenge the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which had inflamed much of the Muslim world.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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