Chicago Businessman Convicted of Terrorism but Not Mumbai Attacks

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 2:15 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A jury in a U.S. federal court has convicted a Chicago businessman of supporting an overseas terrorist group and helping to plot an attack on a Danish newspaper, but acquitted him of helping plot the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The jury announced the verdicts in trial of Tahawwur Rana Thursday after two days of deliberations.

Prosecutors accused the Pakistani-born Canadian of helping plan an attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, touching off angry protests across the Muslim world. Public depictions of Muhammad is forbidden in Islam. The plot was never carried out.

Rana was also charged with providing material support to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the attacks in Mumbai that left 166 people dead. But the jury rejected the prosecution's claim that Rana's help to Lashkar resulted in any deaths, which would have gotten him a life sentence.

The prosecution's star witness against Rana was David Coleman Headley a Pakistani-American who has pleaded guilty to conducting surveillance for both the Danish and Mumbai plots. Headley testified he traveled to Mumbai under the pretense that he was working for Rana's immigration business.

Prosecutors say the two were recorded by the FBI shortly after the Mumbai attacks discussing the raid and possible new targets in India and Denmark.

Headley also testified that Lashkar-e-Taiba received help from Pakistani intelligence.

India has long accused Pakistan of harboring the militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks.

Rana faces 30 years in prison on both convictions. His lawyer says he will appeal the verdicts, telling reporters the jury “got it wrong.”