US unveils names of Mumbai ‘conspirators’

CHICAGO: US prosecutors on Monday unveiled the names of four additional Pakistani conspirators charged with carrying out the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks and plotting other terrorist actions in India and Denmark.None of the men are in US custody and a spokesman for the US attorney’s office declined to say whether the US government would be seeking their extradition or even knows their whereabouts.The United States has been prosecuting a case against the conspirators after arresting Pakistani-American David Headley in 2009, who pleaded guilty to surveying hotels in Mumbai and other targets ahead of the November 2008 attacks in which 166 people died.In exchange for his guilty plea, US prosecutors agreed Headley would not face extradition to India or the death penalty but required him to provide both US and Indian investigators with details of the plots.Headley allegedly told investigators about a planned attack on the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices of the Jyllands Posten newspaper which published blasphemous cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

He also detailed the targets he was scoping out for the next attack just four months after the Mumbai attacks, including Bollywood, the National Defense College in Delhi and Chabad Houses in several cities.India blames Lashkar-e-Taiba for masterminding the Mumbai attacks, which led to the suspension of fragile peace talks between the two neighbors and rivals.New Delhi and Islamabad only agreed to resume dialogue in February.The conspirators named in a superseding indictment are: Sajid Mir, who was described as a “handler” in the banned Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taibaa; Mazhar Iqbal, a Laskar “commander;” Abu Qahafa, who trained the attackers in combat for Lashkar; and an individual known only as “Major Iqbal” (hereafter “Major Iqbal”), who allegedly “participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by Lashkar.”They were each charged with six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India and one count of conspiracy to murder and maim in India.Three of them — Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal — were charged with conspiracy to bomb public places in India and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in India.Mir was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism and murder and maim in Denmark, in a plot to attack the newspaper which published controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.They could face the death penalty if convicted in the United States.A Chicago businessman also charged with helping Headley is set to face trial on the charges on May 16.Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani-born Canadian citizen who owns the immigration services firm that Headley allegedly used as a cover, insists he is a pacifist who was “duped” by his friend. – Brecorder