Rana, a doctor-turned terror convict

Tahawwur Hussein Rana
Chicago, Jun 10: Tahawwur Hussein Rana, who was found guilty of helping Pakistan-based terror group LeT by a US court here, is a military doctor-turned businessman, who opened a visa facilitation office in Mumbai for the LeT operation.

50-year-old Rana's case had turned him into a newsmaker as his trial was closely watched for revelations about Pakistan's spy agency ISI's role in the Mumbai attacks.

Rana, who was born in Chichawatni in Pakistan's Punjab province, had his education at Cadet College Hasan Abdal, a military residential college, before becoming a citizen of Canada. Headley also went to the same college.

After getting a medical degree, Rana joined the Pakistani army's medical corps. He served in the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and got injured there and recuperated in Germany.

Rana was then posted in the glacier region in Pakistan where he declined to go, following which he was declared a deserter by the army and could not travel to his country again.

Rana and his wife, Samraz, also a doctor, became naturalised Canadians in 2001.

Before his arrest in 2009, he had been living in Chicago running several businesses, including an immigration and travel agency.

Three years earlier, he helped his childhood friend Headley open a branch of the immigration business in Mumbai.

It is alleged that the office was set up to scout for possible terrorist targets in the city, which was attacked by LeT terrorists on November 26, 2008.

Headley, who pleaded guilty last year, has already admitted that he had links with both the Lashkar-e-Toiba and ISI. 

Patrick Blegan, Rana's another attorney, said, "We do not know what the jury was thinking." He said, "We are disappointed". He said this sentencing could result in a maximum of 30 years of imprisonment, 15 years for each of the two count in which Rana was found guilty.

Blegan said the jury decided that there was no death involved due to Rana providing material support to LeT.

"This is a split verdict. Mumbai part of the verdict is very significant as jury did not find him guilty in the Mumbai terrorists attacks," he said.

Those present in the court room were US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and assistant attorney Daniel Collins and Vicky Peters, Defense attorney Blegen, Rana's wife Samraz Rana their two daughters and mother of Samraz. Blegan and Rana family members looked tense and crestfallen.

Rana was brought in the court from the local prison at 4.30. Jury arrived a few minute later after which the judge pronounced the verdict.

The Justices Department press note said US District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered the defense to file post-trial motions by August 15. No sentencing date was set.

"The message should be clear to all those who help terrorists we will bring to justice all those who seek to facilitate violence," said Patrick J Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

"Today's verdict demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable not only terrorist operatives, but also those who facilitate their activities. As established at trial, Rana provided valuable cover and support to David Headley, knowing that Headley and others were plotting terror attacks overseas," said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

"We will not rest in our efforts to identify and bring to justice those who provide support to terrorists," he said.


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