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Headley to answer charges in Mumbai attack today

world Updated: Dec 09, 2009 11:59 IST

Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, charged with helping to plan last year's terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left 166 dead, will appear in a Chicago court on Wednesday to respond to the charges.

Son of a Pakistani diplomat and an American socialite mother, Headley, 49, is due to appear before US District Judge Harry Leinenweber for arraignment at 10.45 am on Wednesday, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

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

Headley was arrested in Chicago in October and was charged with plotting to attack the Jyllands Posten newspaper in Denmark, which had published 12 cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad in 2005 triggering protests in much of the Muslim world.

His co-defendant in the Denmark terror case, Pakistan born Canadian Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, with whom Headley had gone to school, was not charged in the Mumbai case.

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

At the State Department, spokesperson Philip J Crowley could not say whether the US would be putting additional pressure on Pakistan to get access to suspects like top LeT commander Zarar Shah as it coordinates with India and Pakistan on the prosecution of the Mumbai attacks.

"We obviously have a role to play in terms of dialogue with these countries, but issues like that I think would be best addressed to the Department of Justice," he said in response to a question.

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

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