The United States of America has rejected a USD 1.5 million bail application of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana. He was declared a fugitive by the Indian government due to his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. The court describes him as a flight risk.
The 59-year-old terrorist, Rana is a childhood friend of David Coleman Headley. He was arrested on 10th June 2020 in Los Angeles, California following an extradition request by India for his role in the attack in which 166 people, including 6 Americans were killed.
The US District Court Judge, Jacqueline Chooljian passed this order. In the 24-page order which was passed by the court, the reason for citing Rana as a flight risk was on the argument that if he were to flee to Canada, he may escape the possibility of a death sentence in India. The court said that any amount of bail allowance would not guarantee his presence in court. Moreover, assistant US attorney John J Lulejan argued that granting bail to this person would invite the possibility of embarrassment of the United States in its conduct of foreign affairs, straining its relationship with India.
Rana’s attorney argued that he is not a flight risk and went on to propose a USD 1.5 million bond for his release. In his defence, the 26/11 accused argued that the country’s decision to not extradite Headley, his co-conspirator was inconsistent and therefore bars his extradition.
The Judge Noted-
“While Rana has presented a robust bail package and proffered conditions which significantly mitigate the risk of flight, the court cannot find that he has negated the risk of flight and accordingly grants the Detention Request (of the government) on that basis,”
The Pakistani-born Rana completed his medical training at the Army Medical College in the country and served in the Pakistani Army for more than a decade but eventually moved to Canada. He is currently a citizen of Canada but resided in Chicago where he managed his business. According to the documents presented in court, he travelled frequently to countries like Canada, Pakistan, Germany, England and speaks seven languages.
The federal prosecutor said-
“If he flees to Canada, he could effectively avoid exposure to the death penalty as such country's extradition treaty with India contains a provision which allows extradition to be refused if the offense for which extradition is requested is punishable by death in India and is not punishable by death in Canada unless India gives assurances that a death penalty would not be executed”
Furthermore, it was also pointed out that Rana tested positive for COVID-19 in Los Angeles on 28th April 2020 but he was asymptomatic and has since recovered. His tests on 13th June, 15th June and 25th June 2020 came out to be negative. In the narrative laid out by federal prosecutors, between 2006 and 2008, he conspired with David Headley a.k.a. ‘Daood Gilani’ and others assist Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami, to carry out Mumbai based terrorist attacks. Headley is currently serving a 35-year prison term in the USA for his role in the attack.