Rana trial begins in Chicago Court

Chicago: The trial of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana who is accused with David Coleman Headley for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks began here today.

Rana, a 50-year-old Chicago businessman, is accused of helping his childhood friend, Headley, to scout targets for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The trial began with the jury selection process at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

A total of 100 jurors filled out the questionnaire and will be questioned by US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber tomorrow in what is supposedly the most important terrorism trial ever to be held here.

After the jury is finalised this week, the opening arguments of the case will be presented by both sides.

Rana with his gray beard and hair and wearing spectacles was accompanied with his attorneys Patrick Blegen and Charlie Swift.

"It is the beginning of jury selection and jurors are filling out the questionnaire even as we speak," Blegen told reporters here. "It`s the best way to select a jury," he added.

The questionnaire jurors will fill out has more than 60 questions. It will ask questions about Islam, and jurors` feeling about Islam.

Swift said that since 80 per cent of Americans distrust Islam, Rana needed fair jurors.

"There is only one verdict the jury will reveal – not guilty," Rana`s attorney, Charlie Swift said.

Swift said that the jury needed people who are ethnically and racially diverse, men, women, young, old, who could put aside their prejudice and biases.

"People hailing from India, Denmark and Pakistan would most likely be disqualified," Blegen said.