Counter Terrorism Perspectives: CTP

MLM: "Tahawwur Hussain Rana: Nearer to Extradition to India and a Revival of the Mumbai Attacks Investigation"

December 08, 2023

Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Canadian businessman originally from Pakistan, was convicted in a US court in 2011. Rana was charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan and for conspiring to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus. This followed their publishing of controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed in 2005. In 2013, Rana was sentenced to 14 years in a US prison. [1] Rana, however, was acquitted of a third charge, which had alleged his involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The Mumbai attack had been orchestrated by LeT and rogue elements within Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Even though he was acquitted on this last point, the case against Rana for the other charges remains. This is due to the fact that LeT operative and Pakistani-American David Headley (also known as Dawood Gilani)—who had pleaded guilty in 2010 to planning the Mumbai attacks—testified against Rana to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India (Dawn, January 17, 2013; DoJ Press Release, January 17, 2013).

Rana had laid the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks, using his immigration firm to provide logistical support to Headley. Headley was convicted by the US court and sentenced to 35 years in prison for his leading role in the string of shootings and bombings, which led to the death or injury of 450 people, 10 of which were LeT militants. Headley also detailed how the ISI supported LeT. Another notorious al-Qaeda commander, Ilyas Kashmiri, was indicted in the same case as Rana and Headley. Kashmiri, however, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in 2011 before he could be brought to trial (CaseText, August 30, 2012).

This profile examines the involvement of Rana in the Mumbai attacks and his ties with LeT’s David Headley and the ISI, which illustrates the complex web of global terror networks and state-level complicity. It also looks at how Rana’s eventual extradition to India would reopen the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks conspiracy case, reflecting the nuanced nature of legal proceedings in cases of transnational terrorism.

Read More at, Animesh Roul, "Tahawwur Hussain Rana: Nearer to Extradition to India and a Revival of the Mumbai Attacks Investigation", Militant Leadership Monitor (Subscription),  Vol. 14 (11), November  2023.