Headley produced in Chicago court, pleads not guilty

He conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai for over 2 years

Headley produced in Chicago court, pleads not guilty

Pakistani-American David Headley, a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative arrested by FBI, on Wednesday pleaded not guilty before a court where he was produced, two days after being charged with helping plan the Mumbai terror attacks.

Headley, 49, arrested in October this year, also pleaded not guilty to the charge of plotting terror attacks in Denmark. The next hearing of the case will be held on January 12.

Headley, who appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit, shackled at the ankle, has been charged with six counts of criminal conspiracy.

He was accused of conspiring to bomb public places in India, murder and maim persons in India and Denmark, providing material support to foreign terrorist plots and providing material support to Pakistan-baed terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006 so he could “present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani”, was also facing six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India. 

The charges filed in the Federal Court here said Headley conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai for more than two years preceding the 26/11 terrorist attacks, took pictures and videotapes of various targets, and supplied them to the perpetrators of the assault. As many as 173 persons were killed in the 26/11 attack.

The charges were announced on Monday by Patrick J Fitzgerald, US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Headley, who has been charged in a 12-count criminal information, is also facing six counts aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India.

All other counts against Headley, a Chicago resident, carry a maximum of life imprisonment, except providing material support to the Denmark terror plot, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Headley attended terror training camps in Pakistan run by LeT and conspired with its members and others in planning and executing the attacks both in India and Denmark, the charges filed by federal law enforcement officials said.

A retired Pakistani army Major, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, played the central role in communicating with Headley and facilitating contacts with other co-conspirators in Pakistan, including LeT members, they said.

The FBI also arrested Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, Headley’s friend who ran an Immigration Service in Chicago in connection with the case.

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