Headley invokes US law, fends off Indian investigators
Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley is dodging the queries of the three-member National Investigation Agency investigators by invoking the terms of plea bargain and the Fifth Amendment of the US Bill of Rights.india Updated: Jun 06, 2010 19:30 IST
Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley is dodging the queries of the three-member National Investigation Agency investigators by invoking the terms of plea bargain and the Fifth Amendment of the US Bill of Rights, media reports said on Sunday.
According to reports, Headley's repeated response to questions fielded by the NIA team is: "Following the advice of my lawyer, I am invoking, with respect, my right to the Fifth Amendment and say no further in this matter."
This amendment, part of the original Bill of Rights, guarantees that no person in a criminal case, including non-citizens, can be compelled to be a witness against themselves.
On March 18, 2010, Headley was spared the death penalty in exchange for pleading guilty to 12 counts of terror charges, including plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks at the behest of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and conspiring to target a Danish newspaper.
The plea agreement between Headley and the US Attorney for Northern District of Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald, carefully outlined his rights to get a fair sentence, in exchange for his cooperation with the US officials, as well as to "fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the US by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory."
However, the deal requires Headley to cooperate with foreign authorities and can be interviewed by them on US soil.
India got access to Headley on Saturday after months of talks with the US government. On Friday, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that access to Headley was the next logical step in Indo-US counter terror cooperation.