Tahawwur Rana, a Canadian businessman of Pakistani descent currently facing trial in India for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging a recent US court order allowing his extradition to India. Last month, the US District Court of California approved the extradition of Tahawwur Rana to India. During these terror attacks, 166 people, including 6 Americans, died.
The 62-year-old Rana has challenged the US court order allowing his extradition by filing a writ of Habeas Corpus. His attorney argued that Rana’s extradition would violate the terms of the agreement of the United States-India extradition treaty in two ways. First, Rana has already been tried and acquitted of charges in the Northern District of Illinois of the United States District Court for the same conduct India intends to use against him in its prosecution.
The lawyer argued that his extradition was barred under Article 6(1) of the Extradition Treaty. The article states, “[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.”
Secondly, Rana’s attorney said that the evidence submitted by the Government of India did not show that he committed the crimes for which he was accused and could not establish probable cause. The majority of the evidence submitted by the Government of India is from his previous trial in the Northern District of Illinois, which includes the transcripts and exhibits.
The writ states that the Court should grant the writ of habeas corpus, deny extradition, and order the release of Rana because the Government of India’s extradition request does not comply with Article 9.3(c) of the Treaty.
The case began on June 10, 2020, when India filed a complaint asking for the provisional arrest of Rana with a view towards extradition. The extradition of Rana to India received the cooperation and approval of the US government under President Joe Biden.
“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,” US Magistrate Judge of the US District Court of California, Judge Jacqueline Chooljian, said in a 48-page court order dated May 16, which was released May 17.
The court order further states, “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”.
Attorneys for the US Government claimed during court proceedings that Rana knew that his childhood friend, the Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, was a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and that by helping Headley and providing him with a cover for his activities, he was assisting the terrorist group and its associates. Furthermore, Rana is said to have been aware of all of Headley’s meetings and what was discussed; apart from planning the attacks, he also knew some of the targets.
According to the US government, Rana allegedly participated in the conspiracy, and there is reason to believe that he committed the substantive crime of commissioning a terrorist act.
Rana is detained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Los Angeles and opposes his extradition. He was detained in the US when India requested his extradition for involvement in these attacks. Rana’s involvement in the 26/11 attacks is being investigated by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA). According to the NIA, proper steps to bring him to India through diplomatic channels are ready to be taken.