Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rana doesn't testify, trial to see closing arguments

Last updated on: June 07, 2011 10:43 IST

The defence for Tahawwur Rana [ Images ], co-accused with David Headley [ Images ] in the 26/11 attacks, rested its case in Chicago after calling two witnesses but the Pakistani Canadian himself did not testify.

At the hearing of the terror trial, the defence said employees at Rana's immigration offices in New York or Toronto did not remember working with Headley. The employees -- Rehana and Kashif Khan -- among others, take calls at the offices.

he defence called in a computer forensic expert and an immigration attorney but Rana waived his right to testify. Closing arguments by the prosecution and defence are scheduled for Tuesday.

Computer forensic expert Yaniv Schiff Moshe said he researched Rana's computers from July 1, 2009 to October 15, 2009 and found that no search was conducted on them except on one computer for Jyllands Posten cultural editor Fleming Rose or Kurt Westergaard the cartoonist who drew the controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. This one computer was used by Headley himself to search the Danish newspaper office and its targets.

The government and prosecution argued on computer technicalities like "unallocated space" in which technicians can check which websites were visited on a computer. Schiff also said he saw in a link of a Yahoo group -- an Abdalian forum posting and a Mumbai terror attacks [ Images ] posting on Rana's computer. But these links never opened.

After the presentation of witnesses, Judge Harry D Leinenweber asked Rana if he had consulted his lawyers and wanted to testify but a frail-looking Rana, dressed in a brown suit, said that he did not want to testify.
Rana's lawyer Charles Swift [ Images ] said, the government could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Rana was guilty. "The government could not prove its case so Rana is not testifying," Swift said.

Rana's relatives, mostly women, dressed in salwar kameez, including his wife Samraz, sat in the courtroom.

    The(The)  defence also called an attorney who said his work with First World -- Rana's immigration company -- included legitimate seminars on immigration issues.
Earlier, a video recording produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation before the court revealed that Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] operative Headley had approached the Inter-Services Intelligence to help Rana get back to Pakistan.

Headley used his personal links to favour Rana, FBI agent Jeffrey Parsons said while deposing.
Rana, 50, had served in the Pakistani Army as a doctor. He served in the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and got injured there and recuperated in Germany [ Images ].

After that Rana was posted in the glacier region in Pakistan where he declined to go following which he was declared a deserter and could not travel to Pakistan again. "Headley used his personal links to get me the favour", the FBI agent quoted Rana as stating.

Parsons said he had interviewed Pakistani-Canadian Rana with another agent Benabides. In the video shown in court, Rana said he thought the LeT does not know Headley is with the ISI. He also said that Rana mentioned his meeting with Al Qaeda [ Images ] commander Ilyas Kashmiri, believed to have been killed in a US drone attack in South Waziristan last week.

During previous hearings Headley had testified that ISI was linked to the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes.
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