Rana acquitted in 26/11 case

Chicago: Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana today escaped a possible life sentence when he was acquitted by a US court on charges of plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks but was found guilty of supporting Pakistan-based terror group LeT and planning a strike in Denmark.

A 12-member jury here reached a split verdict after two days of deliberations and ruled that 50-year-old Rana was not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people, including six Americans. If he was convicted on this count, he could have received a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Announcing the verdict, US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber said Rana was guilty of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which had carried out the 26/11 attacks, and plotting to bomb Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper which had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Rana faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the two counts combined and remains in federal custody without bond, a US Justice Department statement said.

No sentencing date was set.

"A Federal Court jury has convicted defendant Rana on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Denmark terrorism plot and one count of providing material support to LeT, and not guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks," said Justice Department spokesman Randall Samborn.

The verdict left Rana, who was a co-accused in the Mumbai attacks with David Headley, stunned. His lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling as there was an "error" in the trial.