Trial of Rana to begin on May 16

Chicago: The trial of Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, an accused in the Mumbai terror attack case, is scheduled to begin on May 16 at the Federal Court in Chicago.

The trial will be held before US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse here.

On the same day as the trial begins, potential jurors will report to the courthouse to complete a questionnaire to be used in the jury selection process, Randall Samborn, the spokesman for the Chicago US Attorney`s Office, said in a statement.

There is no public courtroom activity currently scheduled for May 16. The next day on May 17, the potential jurors will return for the start of the in-court jury selection process (voir dire), and jury selection will continue that week until the process is completed.

It is anticipated that opening statements will occur on, and not before, May 23. The trial is expected to be in session Monday through Thursday each week and to last approximately four weeks. The next scheduled status hearing in the case is on May 11.

On April 25, in a second superseding indictment, US prosecutors charged four additional men in the 26/11 terror attacks that left 166 dead including six Americans.

Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts on February 15 last year for planning out the attacks, providing material support to LeT to carry out the bombings and guiding Headley in scouting targets in Mumbai for the carnage.

Headley, who was originally Daood Gilani, changed and anglicised his name in order to carry out the carnage without disclosing his Pakistani identity.

While co-accused David Headley has pled guilty in plotting the carnage, Rana has pled not guilty in providing material support to the attack.

Rana, who had served as a doctor in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps, before he migrated to Canada, is also accused of plotting an attack with Headley on a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

If convicted, Rana faces a possible life sentence.