Mumbai Terror Suspect Rana's Trial on May 16

Chicago, April 12 (IANS) The trial of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, co-accused with David Headley in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, is expected to start in Chicago as scheduled May 16.

US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber approved a request by prosecutors Mondayto take several additional days to hand over a document to the defence that outlines evidence.

Leinenweber made clear he has every intention of starting the trial on time despite the fact that some materials are classified and may have to be presented behind closed doors.

Rana, 49, charged with providing cover to Headley, who has admitted to scouting sites for the 26/11 Mumbai attack, appeared at the brief hearing Monday that addressed procedural issues before the May trial.

Unlike Headley, a US citizen who pleaded guilty March 18 last year, Rana, a Pakistan born Canadian national with alleged links to the Lashkar-e-Tabia and who has been a Chicago resident for more than a dozen years, has pleaded not guilty.

Rana's lawyer Patrick Blegen said that he was preparing the witness list and is consulting with terrorism and computer forensic experts to prepare his case.

The next hearing is scheduled for April 26.

Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts February 15 last year for planning the attacks, providing material support to LeT to carry out the attacks besides providing cover to Headley.

Rana, who had served as a doctor in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps, before he migrated to Canada, is also accused of plotting an attack with Headley on Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

If convicted, Rana faces a possible life sentence.


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