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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student


Canadian pleads not guilty in terror cases

A Chicago businessman pleaded not guilty Monday to making plans for an attack on a Danish newspaper and helping arrange the rampage in 2008 that killed 166 people in Mumbai, India.

Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 49, a Canadian national born in Pakistan, intends to fight the charges, attorney Patrick Blegen said after the arraignment.

Blegen said he will try to get his client released on bond while awaiting trial. If convicted, Rana could be sent to federal prison for the rest of his life.

Rana and co-defendant David Coleman Headley, 49, an American who went to school in Pakistan, are accused of laying the groundwork for the deadly 2008 attack by 10 terrorists who left a trail of carnage through Mumbai. Nine were eventually killed and the tenth person accused is now in custody.

Rana and Headley are also accused of planning an attack on the Jyllands Posten newspaper, which set off weeks of protests among Muslims after publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. That attack never took place.

Prosecutors say that the alleged terrorist plans were tied to a Pakistan-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been in violent conflict with the government of India over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Two other men, retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed and accused terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri, also are charged in connection with the planned attack on the Danish newspaper. Their whereabouts are unknown, although the indictment said Kashmiri has been in Pakistan’s tribal areas, home to various terrorist groups.

Rana is specifically charged with two counts of conspiracy to provide aid to terrorism and one count of actually providing such support.

Headley, who is cooperating with federal prosecutors, could face a death sentence if convicted. He is due to answer to the charges on Wednesday.

Blegen said Monday at the arraignment that Rana cannot afford to pay for his defense. The attorney said he will ask U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber, who is presiding over the case, to appoint him as Rana’s government-paid counsel.

While Rana may have some money, “he doesn’t have enough to fund the defense of a large, federal criminal case, and virtually nobody does,” Blegen said. He said such a trial could take months and cost a fortune.

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