CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago travel agent and terrorist Tahawwur Rana says his next journey will be a death trip to India.
If he is extradited there as American and overseas prosecutors want, Rana claims he will either be executed by the Indian government or murdered in an Indian jail cell, both possibilities being used by his attorneys to keep him in the US
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India’s criminal justice system is not known for its safe and humane treatment of prisoners.
Rana is pointing to the South Asian nation’s reputation for prisoner mistreatment and death in a new US court filing.
He is attempting to block his extradition to India where he would stand trial in connection with the deadly terror attack on the city of Mumbai in 2008. He’s already been convicted in Chicago of ties to the same terrorist group based in his home nation of Pakistan.
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“In the real world, Rana has little chance of making it to trial in India given that country’s well-documented history of extrajudicial violence directed against Muslims in police custody,” his attorneys write.
“It’s a defense strategy. His lawyers are making the best arguments they can for why he shouldn’t be extradited. There may be issues with the prison system in India as there are elsewhere, but that won’t be grounds to prevent extradition,” said ABC7 Chief Legal Analyst Gil Soffer.
Rana was operating a travel agency in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood 15 years ago, when authorities say he and childhood Pakistani friend David Headley began working with Pakistani terrorists on a Mumbai attack plot. When it was carried out, 175 people were killed, including six Americans.
READ MORE: Convicted terrorist asks for immediate release from prison before extradition to India
Rana’s attorneys seem to really bring home the point that from their point of view, he is about to be shipped overseas, to stand trial for charges that he’s already been prosecuted on in the United States. How is that legal?
“If Indian law has something different about it than American law that requires proof of something different, even if it’s the same underlying facts he can face charges in India,” Soffer said.
Rana remains in a federal lockup in Los Angeles waiting for a judge to decide on sending him to India. Legal experts think his stopping extradition is a long-shot, and that it doesn’t matter that he is a Canadian citizen. Rana’s Chicago attorney, Patrick Blegen, has not responded to I-Team emails.