Mumbai 26/11 attack accused Tahawwur Rana challenges order of extradition to India

Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman and terror suspect Tahawwur Rana has filed a plea challenging a recent US court order that approved his extradition to India where he is facing trial for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that led to the killing of 166 people, including six Americans. 

Filing the writ of habeas corpus through his lawyer, Rana, 62, has challenged his extradition by the Government of India. 

Rana’s lawyers have argued that his extradition would violate the United States-India extradition treaty in multiple aspects. They say Rana has been tried and acquitted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on charges of similar conduct for which India seeks to prosecute him. 

They’ve argued that extradition is therefore barred under Article 6(1) of the Treaty, which declares that “[e]xtradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted or acquitted in the Requested State for the offence for which extradition is requested.” 

On June 10, 2020, India filed a complaint seeking the provisional arrest of Rana with a view towards extradition. The Biden administration had supported and approved the extradition of Rana to India. 

“The Court has reviewed and considered all of the documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the Request, and has considered the arguments presented at the hearing,” Judge Jacqueline Chooljian, US Magistrate Judge of the US District Court Central District of California, said in a 48-page court order dated May 16, 2023. During court hearings, the US Government lawyers stated that Rana was aware that his childhood friend Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was involved with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Rana still assisted Headley and provided him cover for his activities. Thereby, he was supporting the terrorist organization and its associates. 

Rana knew of Headley’s meetings, what was discussed, and the planning of the attacks, including some of the targets. 

The US government asserted that Rana was part of the conspiracy and there is probable cause that he committed the substantive crime of commission of a terrorist act. 

Rana is currently detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, United States. 

Rana was arrested in the US on an extradition request by India for his role in these attacks. 

A total of 166 people, including six Americans, were killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 10 Pakistani terrorists laid a more than 60-hour siege on November 26, 2008. 

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