Family of accused terrorist defends his innocence as jury debates his fate

June 8, 2011

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(WBEZ/Maham Khan)
Tahawwur Rana's daughter (left), and wife, Samraz, spoke publicly for the first time about the trial yesterday.

The wife and daughter of Tahawwur Rana, who is on trial for helping in the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, that killed 160, are adamant that their loved one is innocent of all charges against him.

“I’m pretty confident in my husband, and I’m fully confident in… the jury, and my lawyers and of course God,” said Samraz Rana, wife of Tahawwur Rana.

Admitted terrorist David Headley, who has pleaded guilty to aiding in the attack, testified against Rana saying he had also helped in the plot. But Samraz said Headley can’t be trusted.

“It was not the first time he fooled my husband," Rana said about Headley. “He has not fooled only my husband but so many people, even his own wife. People who have been attached to him -- he fooled all of them.”

Email correspondence between Headley and Rana, that was communicated in code, is among the evidence that has been brought against Rana. But Tahawwur’s daughter Manaal Rana said that these emails do not prove her father’s guilt.

“[Headley] was trying to hide his multiple wives from my mother… he created another email to hide that fact, but he never actually used it to conspire or anything,” Manaal said. “I don’t think he actually used it at all. He made an email and now they’re attacking him for that.”

Neither Samraz or her daughter Manaal feel that Tahawwur has been treated fairly in his two years in jail awaiting trial.

“He was put into solitary confinement, which I think is torture,” Manaal said. “I don’t think it’s fair for a person who is innocent until proven guilty to have to go through all of that.”

Rana is charged with one count of providing material support for the Mumbai attacks, one count of also providing material support in a Denmark terrorism plot, and one count of providing material support to Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which planned and executed the Mumbai attack.