Tahawwur Hussain Rana

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Tahawwur Hussain Rana (Urdu: تہوّر حسین رانا‎; born January 12, 1961)[1] is a Pakistani Canadian resident of Chicago, USA who is an immigration service businessman and a former military physician. In 2011, he was convicted of providing support to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and of allegedly plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.[2] He was however not found guilty of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a charge for which he was originally detained.[3] Expressing disappointment at the verdict the Government of India stated that National Investigative Agency would charge Rana in a court in Delhi.[4] On January 17, 2013 he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Tahawwur Hussain Rana was born and raised in Chichawatni in the province of Punjab, Pakistan.[6] He attained his education from the Cadet College Hasan Abdal, a military residential college in Pakistan (where he met and befriended David Headley, then still known as Daood Gilani[7]), before becoming a citizen of Canada. Rana and his wife immigrated to Canada in 1997 and obtained Canadian citizenship in June 2001.[8] They are both physicians by profession. Rana has served as a captain general duty practitioner in the Pakistan Army Medical Corps. He lived primarily in Chicago and owns several businesses including an immigration service agency, First World Immigration Services, with offices in Chicago, New York and Toronto.[9][10] He also owns a home in Ottawa where his father and brother stay.[11]

His younger brother Abbas Rana is a journalist with The Hill Times and had been reporting on politics and the Canadian parliament for seven years. Abbas says his brother is innocent and has no links with terrorism; "To the best of my knowledge, these charges are false. I know my brother. I love my brother. He’s a man of integrity, he’s honest, and he’s a hard-working person."[12] Rana's arrest had a devastating impact on the family. Writing under the heading "Why The Hill Times supports its reporter, Abbas Rana," the weekly's publisher said "As I read about his brother’s case in news stories from Chicago, to India, to Canada, I can’t help but notice the innuendo that appears to imply guilt in the reporting on allegations of terrorism."[12]

When the story of Rana'a arrest broke out in American media, the news was kept hidden from his father who is in poor health. His father, who views cable news, was purposely shielded from watching news. When he gradually learned of the story, he became hospitalised.[12]

While still an officer in the Pakistan Army, Rana deserted the country after he declined from taking a posting to the Siachen glacier. Because of this, he was not able to enter Pakistan. He claims that he had contact with Major Iqbal, an alleged ISI official, who promised him he would try to get Rana back on Pakistan, on the condition if Rana helped Iqbal’s friend (Headley) get back to Pakistan. Based on this, Rana's lawyer said Rana had no knowledge of the Mumbai attack and that Headley happened to manipulate Rana’s immigration business as a cover for his visits to Mumbai.[13] In the same interrogation, Rana also testified that Headley may have possibly worked for the Lashkar-e-Taiba and been involved in militancy in Kashmir.

Arrest[edit]

Rana and Headley were charged and arrested on 18 October 2009 for plotting attacks on the offices of Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper which published the controversial cartoons of prophet Mohammad.[14] During the subsequent interrogation, it was found out that Rana had traveled to Mumbai and had stayed in Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, one of the places which was attacked by terrorists for over four days in November 2008.[15] His trial commenced on May 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.[16] However, Rana maintains that he visited India with his wife on the pretext of interviewing people wishing to emigrate to Canada and the US, as part of his immigration consultancy business.[12]

Rana and his family say he is a pacifist and has been duped, cheated and framed by Headley.[17][18]

Trial[edit]

The opening statements of the trial were made on May 23, 2011 in Chicago.[19] Key testimony at the trial was provided by Governments witness and Rana's childhood friend Headley who also provided details of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence support for Lashkar-e-Taiba.[20] On June 9, 2011 jury convicted him of supporting terrorism by providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba and planning an aborted plot to bomb a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. He was acquitted of the third charge of involvement in 2008 Mumbai attacks. He faced up to 30 years in prison.[21]

Rana's attorney said Rana was "in a state of shock" following the conviction. When he made his way to the court room to hear the verdict, he appeared very tense. Members of his immediate family were present during the hearing.[22] In January, 2013, Rana was sentenced to 14 years in prison.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tahawwur Rana denies involvement in 26/11 attacks: Lawyer". The Hindu. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Sweeney, Annie (10 June 2011). "Chicago businessman convicted in terrorism case". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "26/11: NIA to chargesheet Headley, Rana in absentia". India Today. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Businessman Tahawwur Rana gets 14 years for role in terrorism plots". The Los Angeles Times. January 17, 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "No rules flouted in giving Tahawwur Rana visa: Indian envoy". Zee Entertainment Enterprises. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  7. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/afghanistan-pakistan/david-headley/slideshow-an-americans-path-to-the-mumbai-attacks/#2
  8. ^ Rana ran a flourishing immigration business, link Rana ran a flourishing immigration business, Rediff.com
  9. ^ "Press release of United States Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, January 14, 2010". US Department of Justice. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Rana's Canadian connections traced, journalist brother devastated by arrest". ZeeNews, India. November 19, 2009. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  11. ^ Rajghatta, Chidanand (19 November 2009). "Rana and Headley have elite Pak antecedents". Times of India. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c d Tahawwur Hussain Rana Is Innocent, Says His Journalist Brother Abbas Rana
  13. ^ ISI armed LeT for jihad in Kashmir: Rana video
  14. ^ "US charges two for 'Denmark plot'". BBC News. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Mohan, Vishwa (14 November 2009). "Tahawwur bigger Lashkar catch, feel investigators". Times of India. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  16. ^ "Tahawwur Rana's trial to begin in Chicago today, could expose ISI role in Mumbai 26/11 attacks". Economic Times. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  17. ^ 26/11 accused Rana refuses to testify at trial, Rediff
  18. ^ Rana pleads not guilty; family says he’s framed, Flash News
  19. ^ "Opening Statements Begin Trial for Chicagoan Charged in Mumbai Terror Attack". Fox Broadcasting Company. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "David Headley alleges Pakistan role in Mumbai attacks". BBC. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Tahawwur Rana convicted of aiding 'Mumbai attackers'". BBC. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Rana in a state of shock, says his attorney
  23. ^ Annie Sweeney (17 January 2013): Former Chicago businessman gets 14 years in terror case Chicago Tribune, retrieved 2 June 2013

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