Suspected planner of Mumbai attack to be arraigned

AP News
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 2:04 PM

A Chicago man charged with helping to plan the terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that left 166 dead will appear in court on Wednesday to respond to the charges, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

David Coleman Headley, 49, is due to appear before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber for arraignment at 10:45 a.m.

Headley was charged Monday with conducting surveillance on locations around Mumbai that later became the targets of bloody attacks blamed on members of the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The group, whose name means Army of the Pure, is an outgrowth of decades of friction between Pakistan and India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Lashkar-e-Taiba has been outlawed in Pakistan and designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization.

Headley, an American of Pakistani descent, was arrested in Chicago in October and was charged with plotting to attack the Jyllands Posten newspaper in Denmark. The newspaper had published 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 that set off protests in much of the Muslim world.

Unlike his co-defendant in that case, Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, Headley has not yet appeared in court.

Rana's attorney, Patrick Blegen, has been attempting to get his client freed on bond. He says Rana appears to be an honest businessman who was duped by Headley.

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Headley's attorneys, John Theis and Robert Seeder, have refused to comment on the charges.

A Virginia woman whose husband and 13-year-old daughter were killed in the Mumbai attacks said in a statement Monday that she was grateful U.S. authorities brought charges against Headley.

"My hope is that Headley cooperates fully and discloses all information to aid in the investigation," said the statement from Kia Scherr, whose husband, Alan, had gone to Mumbai to scout locations for a meditation retreat.