Terror suspect Tahawwur Hussain Rana on Thursday claimed in a bail plea that he is a Pakistani army deserter and will not be able flee home due to fears of reprisal, but failed to get a reprieve from a US court.
The Pakistani-Canadian, arrested by the FBI in October, appeared before District Judge Matthew Kennelly but he refused to hear the plea after prosecutors said they expect an indictment by January 14, which could send the case to a different judge. He set a status hearing for January 21.
The Chicago businessman, who federal prosecutors say plotted attack on a Danish newspaper and also knew about 26/11 attack plans, contended in a motion filed in federal court that he had to desert the Pakistani Army after he developed high-altitude sickness during deployment in Northern Areas.
"Defendant's Pakistani background should raise no concerns whatsoever regarding risk of flight," the motion said, according to television channel reports.
It said while serving as a physician in the Pakistani military, he was transported to Northern Areas without proper acclimatisation and suffered from high-altitude cerebral edema, which later led to high-altitude pulmonary edema.
He was granted leave to seek medical treatment and subsequently flew to England, the motion said adding, when he was denied extended leave, he had to desert the army.
"Defendant has not returned to Pakistan since, and any attempt to flee to Pakistan would be met with incarceration and court martial proceedings. As such, Defendant presents no risk of fleeing to Pakistan because to do so would only change the location of his detention," it said.