Assistant U.S. State attorney tells court request has no merit
The U.S. government has opposed yet another plea by Tahawwur Rana, key accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, to file additional reply in a U.S. court that would delay the extradition proceedings slated to begin on April 22.
Rana is wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the 2008 terror attack case that claimed 166 lives including six Americans.
Rana, who was lodged in a U.S prison, was released in June last year after an Illinois court commuted his jail sentence (scheduled to get over in September 2021) after he tested positive for COVID-19. Following his release he was provisionally arrested by the federal police in the wake of the pending extradition request from India and is currently lodged in a Los Angles prison.
Assistant U.S. State attorney John J. Lulejian submitted before a court in Los Angeles that “Rana’s assertion that he needs a sur-reply (additional reply ) is without merit.”
“Rana already had the opportunity to address, and did address, Article 6 in his opposition brief. Indeed, Rana’s belief that the United States “put the issue in play” in its opening memorandum only further confirms that he should have fully addressed Article 6 in his response brief. Without any explanation of what issues he was unable to address previously, his motion falls flat,” the note submitted by U.S attorney says.
Rana submitted in court on February 6 that his extradition is barred under Article 6 of the United States-India extradition treaty as he had previously been acquitted of the offences for which his extradition is sought.
The U.S. attorney’s submission also said, “Rana should not be given the opportunity to file a sur-reply simply because the United States submitted more pages, particularly where Rana otherwise had a full opportunity to brief the contested issues.”
“Counting the number of pages that the parties used to address the key issues of the case is not persuasive. Both the United States and Rana knew that the Court, at the parties’ request, generously increased the page limit of the briefs from 25 to 50 pages so that the parties would thoroughly address the issues relevant to extradition. The United States, which bears the burden in these extradition proceedings, used its allotted pages to detail the relevant extradition law and procedures, to establish that the required elements of extradition are satisfied, and in its reply, to provide a detailed and focused response to the specific challenges presented by Rana in his 22-page opposition,” the U.S. attorney said.
Unlike his school friend and prime accused David Coleman Headley, Rana did not enter into a plea bargin with the U.S. authorities that would have barred his extradition to India.
The Pakistani-Canadian citizen who was arrested in 2009 was convicted by a U.S court in 2013 for providing material support to the Pakistan based terror outfit- Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).