Canadian terror suspect to offer $1M from sureties at bail
Published Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:34PM EST
TORONTO - No bail conditions could assure a Canadian man accused in the U.S. of supporting an international terrorism plot wouldn't flee as he is facing a lengthy prison term and has access to "foreign" bank accounts, American prosecutors say in court documents.
Tahawwur Rana, 48, and David Headley, an American, were arrested in October for their alleged involvement in a plot to attack a newspaper in Denmark and murder an editor and a cartoonist responsible for publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Rana faces two counts: conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist conspiracy and providing support to that conspiracy.
This is a very serious offence involving "members of some of the most sophisticated, violent terrorist organizations that exist," prosecutors write in documents filed in advance of Rana's bail hearing Wednesday in Chicago.
The prosecution is opposing bail, saying, "there are no set of conditions that will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant."
The FBI is also reportedly probing whether Rana and Headley were involved in the attacks last year in Mumbai that killed 166 people. Rana's lawyer Patrick Blegen has said Rana "categorically denies" involvement.
Court documents show Rana's lawyers will argue on Wednesday that there is no risk Rana will flee because friends and family are willing to put up six homes in the U.S., and combined with other funds Rana could post about $1 million in bail.
"Fleeing would devastate not only the defendant's immediate family, but would render homeless and/or jeopardize the financial security of other family members and friends," Blegen wrote.
"The government views a hefty potential sentence as a reason to flee. Ruining the lives of your family and friends more than counterbalances that risk."
Blegen also suggests any number of other conditions could be put on Rana to secure his release on bail, such as house arrest, electronic monitoring and communication restrictions.
Documents show prosecutors will oppose bail by noting Rana faces life in prison, has a "foreign residence and access to foreign accounts" and has allegedly shown he is willing and able to engage in immigration fraud.
However, Blegen writes "it should come as little surprise that a Canadian citizen has Canadian bank accounts," though they don't contain a lot of money.
The father of three was born in Pakistan and has lived in Chicago for more than 10 years. He owns several businesses, including an immigration consultancy in Toronto.
Prosecutors cite as evidence recorded conversations, emails and other documents that Rana provided material support to Headley, including providing a cover story for Headley who allegedly "performed extensive video surveillance" of the Danish newspaper.