|Tahawwur Rana’s in-person extradition hearing, at the request of the Indian government, was held in a court in Los Angeles.|
Tahawwur Rana, the Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman, will remain in the United States as a federal judge in Los Angeles weighs whether he will be extradited to India for his alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
The in-person extradition hearing of Tahawwur Rana, at the request of the Indian government, was held in the court of magistrate judge Jacqueline Chooljian in Los Angeles. Chooljian on Thursday ordered the defence attorneys and prosecutors to file additional documents by July 15.
Rana, whose ankles were shackled, wore a white jumpsuit and black glasses, as well as a mask at the hearing, according to AP. Rana’s two daughters attended the hearing. They declined to comment, as did his lawyers.
India alleges that Rana conspired with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley to assist the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the orchestration of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans, and injured more than 200.
Prosecutors say Rana’s immigration law centre in Chicago, as well as a satellite office in Mumbai, was allegedly used as a front for their terrorism activities between 2006 and 2008. Rana’s attorneys said their client was not aware of Headley’s terrorism plot and was merely trying to help his childhood friend and set up a Mumbai business office.
They also said Headley is a serial liar who has deceived the US government multiple times in several criminal cases and his testimony should not be viewed as credible. The attorneys alleged that Headley had used Rana to further his terrorism efforts without Rana’s knowledge.
Headley, 60, 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. Rana has opposed his extradition to India, arguing that he has already been convicted by a US court in Chicago.
US prosecutors, however, failed to prove that Rana had directly supported the Mumbai attacks. Rana’s defence attorneys, in court papers, say because he has been acquitted of the Mumbai-related charges in the US, extraditing him to India would be tantamount to double jeopardy.
Ajmal Kasab was the only one of the 10 terrorists who survived and went on trial. Kasab was convicted, sentenced to death in India and hanged.