A US court has denied the writ of habeas corpus filed by Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, paving the way for secretary of state Antony Blinken to issue a certification for him to be extradited to India where he is sought for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
In a major victory for India’s fight in bringing the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to justice, the court approved 62-year-old Rana’s extradition to India in May.
In June, Rana, who is currently detained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Los Angeles, filed a “writ of habeas corpus” challenging the court order that acceded to the request of the US government that the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks accused be extradited to India.
“The court has denied Tahawwur Rana’s petition for writ of habeas corpus by a separate order,” Judge Dale S Fischer, US district judge, central district of California, wrote in his order on August 10.
However, Rana has filed an appeal against the order and sought a stay on his extradition to India till the time his appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court is heard.
Rana faces charges for his role in the Mumbai attacks and is known to be associated with Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, one of the main conspirators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Judge Fischer in his order said Rana has only made two basic arguments in the writ.
First, he claims that, pursuant to the treaty, he cannot be extradited because India plans to prosecute him for the same acts for which he was charged and acquitted in a United States court. Second, he argues that the government has not established that there is probable cause to believe that Rana committed the Indian offences for which he is expected to stand trial, the judge said.
He denied both arguments of Rana.
“Given that, even if (David) Headley’s testimony were the entire basis for the probable cause finding, it would be sufficient for the purposes of habeas review because it constitutes some competent evidence supporting the finding. For the reasons stated above, Rana’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied,” the judge wrote.
Following Judge Fischer’s order, Patrick Blegen and John D Cline, Rana’s two attorneys filed an appeal to the US court of appeals for denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus.
In a separate appeal, Blegen has filed a petition “for a stay of extradition pending his appeal” to the US court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit from the court’s order denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
In June, the Biden administration urged the court to deny the writ of habeas corpus filed by Rana.
India filed a complaint on June 10, 2020, seeking the provisional arrest of Rana with a view towards extradition. The Biden administration supported and approved his extradition to India.
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing Rana’s role in the 26/11 attacks carried out by terrorists of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group. The NIA has said that it is ready to initiate proceedings to bring him to India through diplomatic channels.
A total of 166 people, including six Americans, were killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 10 Pakistani terrorists laid a more than 60-hour siege, attacking and killing people at iconic and vital locations in Mumbai.