Rana declared not-guilty in Mumbai attack case

Published: June 10, 2011
Jury finds Rana guilty of supporting a banned militant group and helping an aborted attack on a Danish newspaper.

Jury finds Rana guilty of supporting a banned militant group and helping an aborted attack on a Danish newspaper. PHOTO: FILE

CHICAGO, US: A US jury Thursday cleared a Pakistan-born businessman of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai siege, but found him guilty of supporting a banned Pakistani militant group and helping an aborted attack on a Danish newspaper.

Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 50, was found not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed, and which carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

But after two days of deliberations, the jury found the Chicago businessman guilty of providing material support to the banned Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

He was also found guilty of providing material support to a plot to bomb a Danish newspaper which had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed deemed to be offensive by Muslims.

Rana, who is also a Canadian citizen, is likely to face stiff jail terms when it comes to sentencing, but his lawyer said he planned to appeal.

“He is obviously disappointed,” defense lawyer Charles Swift said, adding: “I think he’s in shock.”

During the trial which opened on May 23, the court heard that Rana’s close friend, David Coleman Headley, who he had met at military school in Pakistan, had used his immigrant business as a cover to plot an attack in Denmark.

Muslims had been angered when the Jyllands-Posten newspaper had published the controversial cartoons of Mohammed.

Headley told the federal court in Chicago that since 2009 he had carried out detailed video surveillance of the Danish newspaper and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

Five video clips played by the prosecution showed general shots of King’s Square in the heart of the Danish capital, as well as the glass frontage of the newspaper’s offices and a back alley.

Headley specifically shot images of a parade of Danish soldiers dressed in ceremonial gear and carrying weapons.

Headley, who has admitted to 12 charges stemming from the Mumbai attacks, has been cooperating with prosecutors since his 2009 arrest at a Chicago airport and was the star witness during the trial.

The plot on Copenhagen was eventually aborted, because of the intense pressure in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, and due to a lack of funds, weapons and manpower.

Rana’s lawyers insisted throughout the trial that he is a pacifist who was “duped” into letting his old friend use his company as a cover for his scouting missions.

The trial has been being closely watched as it touched on alleged Pakistani military intelligence collusion with terrorism — a hugely sensitive issue after Osama bin Laden’s killing sparked similar US charges.

Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has long been suspected of involvement in the Mumbai attacks and three ISI agents were named as co-conspirators by US prosecutors.

Headley testified that he believed the ISI’s involvement in the Mumbai plot was limited to a handful of rogue agents, but that he believed the ISI worked closely with the LeT.

The Mumbai attacks stalled a fragile four-year peace process between India and Pakistan, two South Asian neighbors and nuclear-armed rivals, which was only resumed in February.


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Reader Comments (24)

  • Thinking
    Jun 10, 2011 - 4:03AM

    Shouldn’t the headline be “Rana guilty on 2 of 3 counts”? The guy supported terrorism. Why try to defend him? He’s guilty as proven by a court of law. He’s a despicable human being and should be behind bars for the rest of his life.Recommend

  • Indian
    Jun 10, 2011 - 4:37AM

    but found him guilty of supporting a banned Pakistani militant group and helping an aborted attack on a Danish newspaper.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jun 10, 2011 - 5:46AM

    Good to see that even secondary support to terrorism, brings stiff penalty. It should be a lesson for all those support terrorist activities. He faces atleast 10 years in federel prison.Recommend

  • Adil Shah
    Jun 10, 2011 - 5:49AM

    Wow, you guys give new meaning to “objective reporting”. The guy is guilty of majority of the charges and you choose as headline one charge he is not. WowRecommend

  • Jun 10, 2011 - 6:07AM

    ohh! setback for India !!! Not only was Headley’s testimony ineffective but the guy found not guilty of involvement in Mumbai attacks!!Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 10, 2011 - 6:32AM

    It seems to be funny verdict,Rana has served as a captain general duty practitioner in the Pakistan Army’ medical corps, found guilty in “supporting LET” and “Danish plot” but not in 26/11. If so why did he visit India along with childhood friend “hedly”? Why did he support headly in his Mumbai mission by opening immigration agency center? More details require….Recommend

  • uncle sam
    Jun 10, 2011 - 6:59AM

    not guilty in Mumbai attack casse because, he is a CIA-FBI agentRecommend

  • Analyst
    Jun 10, 2011 - 7:50AM

    I think its a just verdict.
    Daood Geelani alias Headley, has already pleaded guilty to helping LeT and ISI. Headley will perhaps escape death penalty and get atleast 25 year prison term. Regarding Rana, the prosecution proved that he helped LeT , for which he was convicted, but the prosecution could not prove that the help was targetted specifically at Mumbai attack.Recommend

  • Raj
    Jun 10, 2011 - 8:07AM

    American Justice system is great…the same system found Dr Aysha Siddiqui guilty of terrorism. Today is the victory day for great American Justice System, which can never happen in India and Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 10, 2011 - 8:08AM

    @uncle sam: are you saying Rana is CIA agent? We know headley was double agent He has worked for DIA and LET. Rana met “Major Iqbal”. Please watch his interogation video. Major Iqbal was junier in ranks to Rana. So he said “Sir” to rana and Rana used to call him as “Bhalla”. Rana was aware of LET operation still got benefit of doubt in Mumbai attack is really shocking. We want more details about the case… Recommend

  • Chebbo
    Jun 10, 2011 - 8:32AM

    Its a tight slap in the face of the Indians who are drumming up for unreasonable allegations. They have tried their level best to implicate the guy in Mumbai attacks. The hindous must be disappointed as the court let the man off the Indians and Jews hook.Recommend

  • AD
    Jun 10, 2011 - 8:50AM

    Not guilty in Mumbai Attacks? helped pak based Orgnisation and helped attacking Danish newspaper which “angered Muslims”.Why dont tribune have party for such unbiased reporting?Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Jun 10, 2011 - 9:30AM

    The incident happened in India, as Indians we know very well who is behind this atrocity. Pakistan denied about involvement of its citizens for 2 months after the incident took place, so I am not surprised about the title of this article. As Admiral Mullen said,

    “Those who grow vipers at their backyard, surely going to bitten by them one day”.Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Jun 10, 2011 - 9:54AM


    You are confusing Rana with Headley. Rana did not visit India. In fact, he was not aware of Mumbai attacks. He was aware that there will be some attack, but did not know the details. That’s why he’s not guilty for Mumbai. But he is guilty for aiding LET.Recommend

  • Naveed
    Jun 10, 2011 - 1:36PM

    @Ashok Sai…

    Admiral Mullen’s remarks seem quite appropriate for his own country as well …..maybe he didnt notice.Recommend

  • Vinayak
    Jun 10, 2011 - 1:46PM

    Uncle Sam has done a deal with Pak. Pak get to somewhat save its face, and Uncle Sam gets to punish Rana too. India should have been expecting this.Recommend

  • Chacha
    Jun 10, 2011 - 5:58PM

    Rana will never leave Jail. He will be convicted in India and then the extradition treaty with US will be enforced. He is a Canadian citizen so US has no interest in helping himRecommend

  • AKA
    Jun 10, 2011 - 11:46PM

    Lol look at all the Indians here with their conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, they just can’t digest the fact that the US court rubbished away their claim. Whenever anyone needs conspiracy theories, Indians are the best source. Recommend

  • Jun 10, 2011 - 11:53PM

    Why dont you accept the verdict which you all Indians were anxiously waiting for and were anticipating a judgement to suit yourself.

    At that time you were saluting US Judiciary and were regarding it as impartial. However despite heavy odd, this independent and impartial decsion is very much welcomed and hope this will clear all misdeeds.

    Similarly, the guy caught by india which is accused to be Pakistani should either be handed over to Pakistan or his trial be held at a neutral place like international court of justice in Hague so that the world should know if this is a real or cooked up case, just to defame Pakistan due to old animity with Pak.


    Dr. Saleem Siddiqi

    South AfricaRecommend

  • vasan
    Jun 11, 2011 - 11:47AM

    I think all the Pakistani bloggers are way off the mark, Rana is cleared and that too of charges of conspiring in the Mumbai attack, Even the Indian courts cleared two Indians of their involvement in the Mumbai attack, Nothing funny about these, Only pak friends are used to every terrorist being cleared of every charge by their courts of all varieties, if at all their police/ISI catch them.
    Rana is still charged with other charges and will be sentenced according to the US’s laws. US courts have not cleared Pak’s ISI of any charge. That will be big time when ISI is in the dock. It is already in the dock in Pakistan itself for Saleem Shazed’s murder and for all other missing persons cases. And for guys commenting on India defaming Pakistan, come on guys gimme a break, That job of defaming Pakistan is extremely well done by Pak rangers, ISI, Army, Courts, Govt. TTP, LeT. LeJ, AQ, SiS, JuD, Jundulla,jihaids, mullahs,maulvis etc. India has succeeded in getting the job done by outsourcing the job to , of all the people, Pakistan itself. You know that we know the business of outsourcing extremely well. Dont you. Ha Ha HaRecommend

  • AK
    Jun 11, 2011 - 8:33PM

    @vasan….yesterday, your media was going crazy and mental about this case. Today, it has been slapped in the face. He has nothing to do with 26/11 – that’s all. End of story. Whatever happens to him next is none of ur business, whether its the ISI, Denmark etc.
    You are only concerned as far as 26/11 – and there’s the decision – he’s not involved.
    As a peace-loving Pakistani, I just hope your media and govt can shut up now and get back to other business, thats if they have any. Recommend

  • vasan
    Jun 12, 2011 - 7:41AM

    AK : I agree with you about the media bit. I am not so sure about the GOI side,. Normally Indian govt officials are pretty sober and do not go overboard. Indian media is quite opposite. I hate all the INdian news channels. Recommend

  • Pyar Ki Trawley
    Jun 12, 2011 - 9:25AM

    oopsy daisy !Recommend

  • Vinayak
    Jun 12, 2011 - 10:57AM

    Facts —

    Rana’s lawyers insisted throughout the trial that he is a pacifist who was “duped” into letting his old friend use his company as a cover for his scouting missions.
    Rana is an ex-Pakistan military person
    Rana has been held guilty of another terrorist plot and has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
    Rana and Headley were best of friends for a long time.

    Highly unlikely is it that Rana was actually ‘duped’, by Headley, and he actually is not involved in 26/11.Recommend

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