No sign India will forgo extradition of Headley for 26/11: Co-accused’s lawyer

Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Headley was involved in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. He was made an approver in the case and is serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in the attack.

In November 2008, 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an extremist organisation, carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.

There is no indication that India has given up on the extradition of David Coleman Headley, the Mumbai terror attack accused, attorney of co-accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana has told a US court.

Rana, 59, a childhood friend of Headley, is facing extradition request by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed. Rana, who has been declared a fugitive by India, is opposing his extradition.

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In a submission early this week before the US district court judge in Los Angeles Jacqueline Chelonian, opposing his extradition, the attorney of Rana claimed that as of now there is no indication on record that India has agreed to forgo Headley’s extradition to India.

India presumably could have agreed to forgo Headley’s extradition in return for his assistance to the United States, but there is no indication in the record that it did so, the court submission told the court.

“In fact, the opinion of the Indian prosecutor serving as the governments expert states: ‘The present opinion is specific to the extradition request in respect of fugitive Tahawwur Hussain Rana. This opinion may not be construed in any manner to indicate that the various extradition requests pending with different sovereign nations in respect of the above-mentioned case which includes the case in respect of Accused No. 1, David Coleman Headley, is either being given up or not being pursued vigorously’,” said the motion filed by his attorneys.

Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Headley was involved in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. He was made an approver in the case and is currently serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in the attack.

Rana’s attorneys said that the court should not lightly assume (as the government appears to suggest) that the government circumvented its treaty obligation to India through a sham interpretation of Article 6 of the India-US Extradition Treaty as part of its deal with Headley.

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The government’s conclusion in Headley’s plea agreement that Article 6 defines offences in terms of conduct rather than elements and thus bars Headley’s extradition must be taken as its good-faith interpretation of the Treaty’s terms, they said.

Rana, in the court filing, described his childhood friend Headley as a liar. Headley lied to federal agents, judges, and presumably prosecutors in relation to these cases. After his first heroin sentence (reduced because of his cooperation), he went back to dealing in heroin despite promising that he would not. He disregarded the agents instructions regarding his dealings with targets and travelled to Pakistan without permission. After his second heroin conviction, he used his status as a DEA cooperator to deflect government scrutiny of his activities with Lashkar and his statements supporting jihad, his lawyers alleged.

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