Chicago terror suspect denied bond

December 15, 2009 3:16:18 PM PST
A suspected terrorist from Chicago will remain behind bars. A federal judge denied bond Tuesday for Tahawwur Rana, calling him a flight risk. Prosecutors say Rana knew about the deadly attack in Mumbai last year before it happened.

The judge considers Rana a flight risk because he is also has Canadian citizenship.

Besides not being an American citizen, when you have a net worth of more than $1.5 million, know your way around the world, and own a travel agency, you are a risk of blowing out on bond and never returning to court-- or so said a U.S. magistrate in Chicago Tuesday who has finally turned down Rana's request to get out of jail.

Rana's attorney refuted the government's contention that Rana is a dangerous man who supports mass murdering terrorists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan overruled a pretrial services recommendation that Rana be freed on bond, saying the Pakistani-born, Canadian businessman has both the means and the knowledge to flee internationally to avoid prosecution.

Judge Nolan also says, with an estimated net worth of $1.6 million, Rana has the financial resources to hideaway out of the U.S.

The 48-year-old Rana is charged with taking part in a plan to attack a Danish newspaper that in 2005 published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. The cartoons prompted weeks of protests in the Muslim world.

In a motion filed Monday, the government said Rana had advance knowledge of the Mumbai massacre in November of last year by Pakistani terrorists that left 175 dead.

According to prosecutors, an undercover recording of a conversation between Rana and now-cooperating co-defendant David Coleman Headley revealed that Rana had been told about the Mumbai plot days before the shooting and bomb-throwing began.

"What I said in court about that is the government has the preliminary transcripts that were as much unintelligible as they were intelligible," said Defense attorney Patrick Blegen.

During a hearing a few weeks ago, Rana was likened to Gandhi by his lawyer. In Monday's motion the government ripped that suggestion and said Rana was no peacemaker.

Tuesday afternoon, Rana's lawyer said he never specifically likened Rana to Gandhi, only that he was a member of an organization that ascribed to Gandhi's nonviolent beliefs.

"He has absolutely no criminal record whatsoever, and in my view of the evidence is that the evidence is not particularly strong," Blegen said.

Federal prosecutors also say Rana is heard on tape congratulating the Mumbai planners after the attacks went down in India a year ago. Rana's attorney Tuesday said those recorded words are being misunderstood, that Rana was actually talking about something else.

Rana remains at the MCC-Chicago. His co-defendant, David Headley, is also thought to be there as he appears to be cutting a deal with the government.


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