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'Rana betrayed by Headley'

world Updated: May 23, 2011 10:50 IST

US attorney Charles Swift, who is representing Canadian-Pakistani Tahawwur Hussain Rana in his trial in Chicago for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, says his client has been betrayed by his friend David Headley.

A former US Navy attorney in the rank of a lieutenant commander, Seattle based Swift has made a career out of defending high profile accused terrorists, including Osama bin Laden's driver Salim Ahmed Hamdan and Pakistani woman Aafia Siddiqui, who was jailed for 86 years last year for shooting at US soldiers in Afghanistan.

"Rana's only crime was to be friends with David Headley and to be in business with David Headley... David Headley betrayed that," Swift told the Chicago Tribune.

Rana's innocent gestures were "twisted by the government into terrorist acts" and he did nothing more than open his business to a friend who betrayed him, the attorney said.

Headley, a friend of Rana from their days in school in Pakistan, has told investigators that Rana allowed him to use his First World Immigration consultancy as a cover to carry out scouting missions to India between 2006 and 2008 to prepare the groundwork for Lashkar e Taiba's(LeT) attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Comparing the current terror related investigations in the US which endanger civil liberties to the detention of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War, Rana's attorney said, "Fear and ignorance lead to those moments that the United States is not proud of. When we are brave and take the time to inform ourselves we do incredible things. We do great things. And that's what motivates me."

A Canadian citizen with an immigration business in Chicago, 50 year old Rana was arrested in October for providing logistical support for carrying out the Mumbai terror attack.