US indicts four in Mumbai attacks, Denmark plot

The US Department of Justice announced Jan. 14 that four men have been charged in connection with the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and an attempted attack on Denmark‘s Jyllands-Posten newspaper in the ongoing cartoon backlash. The superseding indictment reiterates the 12 charges against Chicago resident and US citizen David Coleman Headley filed last month and adds three defendants.

Tahawwur Rana, a Chicago resident with Canadian citizenship, is charged with three counts of providing material support to terrorism, one each for his alleged roles in the Denmark plan and Mumbai attacks, and a third for alleged involvement with terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba. Retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman and Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged terrorist leader believed to have ties to al-Qaeda, are also named in the indictment. Both face one count of conspiracy and one count of providing material support to terrorism for their alleged participation in the Danish newspaper plot. Headley and Rana are in federal custody, though no date has been set for Rana’s arraignment before the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Rehman and Kashmiri remain at-large.

The lone surviving suspected gunman from the Mumbai attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, is currently on trial in India after withdrawing his confession last month. Kasab claims to have met Headley, but only after the attacks when Headley allegedly came to question Kasab in the company of three FBI agents. The judge hearing the trial has removed lawyers representing Kasab on two separate occasions for ethical violations, once in April and again in November. A verdict is expected early next year, and, if convicted, Kasab could face the death penalty. The Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan has indicted seven men accused of planning the attacks, charging them under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act. The men, who allegedly belong to LeT, have pleaded not guilty. Pakistan has postponed the trial of five others allegedly connected with the 2008 attack, which claimed at least 170 lives at 10 locations across the city. (Jurist, Jan. 15)

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  1. Cartoon wars redux
    From the New York Times, March 9:

    A Pennsylvania woman who called herself JihadJane was tied Tuesday to an alleged assassination plot against a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the prophet Muhammad atop the body of a dog.

    In an indictment unsealed Tuesday, federal prosecutors accused Colleen R. LaRose, an American from the Philadelphia suburbs, of linking up through the Internet with militants overseas and plotting to carry out a murder.

    Ms. LaRose, 46, was arrested in Philadelphia in October, but her case was kept under seal. Although the indictment does not identify the target, a law enforcement official said her case was linked to the arrests Tuesday of seven Muslims in Ireland in connection with a scheme to kill the cartoonist, Lars Vilks. A group linked to Al Qaeda had put a $100,000 bounty on his head for the cartoon, which the group perceived as an insult to Islam.

  2. Cartoon wars redux redux
    From The Guardian, Nov. 2:

    French magazine offices petrol-bombed after it prints Muhammad cartoon
    Satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is burned out by 1am petrol bomb attack on the day ‘sharia’ edition was to hit news stands

    The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been burned out in a petrol-bomb attack after a special Arab spring edition entitled “Sharia Hebdo” featured a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad on the cover as “guest editor”.

    At around 1am the offices were gutted after a petrol bomb was thrown into a window and set light to the computer system, blowing out windows and burning most of the office contents.

    The fire happened before the “sharia” edition was to hit news stands on Wednesday morning in what the paper had mockingly called a “celebration” of the victory of the moderate Islamist party An-Nahda in the Tunisian elections and the Libyan transitional executive’s statement that Islamic sharia law would be the country’s main source of law. On the front page a cartoon prophet Muhammad says: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”

    It is not the first time the weekly has published cartoons of Muhammad, depictions of whom are forbidden in Islam. In 2007 a Paris court threw out an attempt by two Muslim organisations to sue the paper for reprinting the prophet Muhammad cartoons that had been published by a Danish newspaper and sparked protests worldwide.

    The magazine’s editor, known only as Charb, told France Inter radio that for the past few days the paper had received threats on Twitter and Facebook and by post, which had been passed on to police. He said he was sickened and angry that “violence could be used to counter drawings”.

    Apparently, its website has also been hacked.