Chicago Man Guilty On 2 Of 3 Terror-Related Charges
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
A federal terrorism case in Chicago has ended with a split verdict. Jurors found the Pakistani-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana guilty on two of three counts of providing material support for terrorism.
Rana was charged with helping plan the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, that left about 170 people dead. He was also accused of helping plot an attack against a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
Tony Arnold of member station WBEZ joins me from Chicago. And, Tony, walk us through this verdict and the two of three counts on which Tahawwur Rana was found guilty.
TONY ARNOLD: Yeah, it was actually a very curious verdict in that this Chicagoan Tahawwur Rana was found guilty of helping terrorists but not actually killing anyone. Out of the two charges that he was found guilty of, one in particular, the charge was helping a terrorist organization, this organization of Lashkar-e-Taiba. It's based in Pakistan, and it had a role in the other two charges that Rana was charged with.
Now, the other one that Rana was found guilty of had to do with planning an attack against a Danish newspaper, this newspaper that a few years ago, you may remember, printed cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims found offensive. And he was found guilty of helping plan an attack there that never actually happened.
Now, the one that Rana was acquitted of related to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. In that instance, 10 attackers stormed Mumbai, killed at least 164 people, six of those people were Americans. And Rana was found not to have any involvement with that at all.
BLOCK: How is the - how are the defense and prosecution reacted to this split verdict today?
ARNOLD: Defense attorney said that their client was in shock and that they were, as attorneys, extremely disappointed in the verdict, mainly because he was found guilty on these two counts.
As for the prosecutors, I think that they're still trying to make sense of this and how you can help a terrorist organization that they believe was involved in these Mumbai attacks, but he had no role in the actual attacks itself. They said that they were satisfied with the verdict and how it related to the attacks in Denmark.
BLOCK: And one of the key witnesses against Tahawwur Rana was David Headley, who pleaded guilty in this case.
ARNOLD: That's right. And Headley actually testified against Rana. These are two old friends from high school who's gotten to know each other over the past 30 years. Defense attorneys took his testimony and said that he was a master liar. He was trained by terrorists to manipulate people, in particular, Rana. Prosecutors, on the other hand, used him to give the story that Rana was involved in both the Mumbai and Denmark plots some legitimacy.
BLOCK: What possible sentence does Tahawwur Rana face?
ARNLOD: Well, because he was found not guilty of actually killing anyone or being involved in these plots in which people actually died, we're looking at - on the two counts, maximum of 15 years each. Those could potentially be combined. At the same time, there have been news reports out of India that they would like to have custody of Rana. Now that this is over, we'll see if that actually happens.
BLOCK: And this case does have implications for the U.S. and Pakistan, referring back to that testimony we were talking about from David Headley, who testified about Pakistan's intelligence agency.
ARNOLD: That's right. David Headley testified that he was trained by this terrorist organization. He was an individual who was involved with the - he was told that he was involved with the Pakistan's secret service. This is a man referred to as Major Iqbal. His real name was never actually revealed, not even to David Headley. Pakistan, for its part, says it had no role in the Mumbai attacks or the plot to attack the Danish newspaper.
BLOCK: Okay, Tony, thanks very much.
ARNOLD: Thank you.
BLOCK: That's Tony Arnold of member station WBEZ talking about the conviction today of Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana on two counts of providing material support for terrorism.
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