US court rejects Rana's bail plea

Last Updated 11 March 2010, 06:51 IST

"Defendant Rana's motion to revoke Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan's detention order is denied," read an order by Judge Harry Leinenweber of US District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Rana has made several pleas to be released on bond since his arrest last year contending that he was "duped" by American-Pakistani LeT operative David Coleman Headley.

Headley, 49, and Rana, 48, were arrested by FBI in October last year and are accused of plotting terror attacks at the behest of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba against India and a Danish newspaper.

"The evidence in the form of recorded conversations, while not conclusive, appears to corroborate the Government's contention that he was a knowing ally of Headley and had been acquainted in advance of the Mumbai attacks," the court said.

In addition, the more serious charges if proved would undoubtedly lead to a higher sentence, the court said, adding that Rana has not "rebutted the presumptions".
Rana has been indicted of "very serious crimes which is sufficient itself to trigger probable cause of his guilt which establishes the reputable presumption of a danger to the community".

"Rana basically nitpicks at the evidence cited by the Government which ties him to the conspiracies in Mumbai and Denmark and fails to rebut the presumption created by the indictment in this case. The short of the matter is that the case against Rana is now much more serious than it stood when Magistrate Judge Nolan made her ruling," the court said.
If convicted, Rana faces a maximum of life imprisonment. Rana has claimed that to a 48-year-old man, a life sentence is no more serious than facing a 30-year jail.

"Nevertheless it certainly would not make him less likely to flee," the court responded.
Rana has been detained as result of a hearing before Judge Nolan, who had concluded last December that he presented a serious flight risk and the weight of evidence against him "strongly favours detention".

Nolan had said the substantial period of incarceration Rana faces if convicted, his extensive foreign travel, expertise in immigration law, his ties to Pakistan and Canada and alleged contacts with a foreign terrorist organisation all give him enough reasons to escape from the country.

Rana's family has offered a million dollar bond.
His lawyer Patrick Blegen presented character witnesses in court who testified to his good reputation, "but acknowledged that they did not know if Rana had any dealings with a member of a terrorist organisation," the court said.

Responding to the court order, Blegen said that he will not be able to comment on whether he would continue to seek bail for Rana, "as I have not yet spoken to my client" about the development. Blegen also did not comment as to when the trial for Rana would begin.

A status hearing in the case has been set for March 29, when federal prosecutors will hold a partly private meeting to discuss the amount and type of classified information that may be used during Rana's trial.

Chicago's top federal prosecutor US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is handling the Headley-Rana case.

Rana, who was born and raised in Pakistan, immigrated to Canada in 1997 and obtained Canadian citizenship in June, 2001. He and his wife, Samraz Akhtar Rana, live in Chicago with their two daughters and a son.

(Published 11 March 2010, 06:33 IST)

Follow us on