26/11: US confident of bringing other 6 charged to justice
Acting US Attorney Gary S Shapiro said this after David Headley was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment by a Chicago court.
Chicago: The United States has said it will continue to bring to justice the other six people named in Mumbai terror attacks case, including Lashkar-e-Toiba leaders. "They are fugitives. If we can ever get our hands on them, we will try to arrest them, or have them arrested depending on what country they are found in and extradite to the United States and prosecute them here in the US," Acting US Attorney Gary S Shapiro told reporters after Headley was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment by a Chicago court.
These six individuals named in the indictment, besides Tahawur Rana, who was sentenced last week, and Headley (sentenced yesterday), are Illyas Kashmiri, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha, Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal, and Major Iqbal.
Of these Illyas Kashmiri is reported to have died in a US drone attack and rest five are said to be in Pakistan. "I think there are those who think these are kind of meaningless exercise, and that the US Government would never get its hand on these fugitives, but you know, you could have said the same thing 15 years ago about some of the drug lords in Columbia, you could have said the same thing 10 years ago about cartel members in Mexico; those countries changed dramatically and we extradited many of these people to the United States, with some of them to Chicago," Shapiro said.
"So we have hopes that we can prosecute them and certainly going to keep looking for them," he said. "All I said was, we are continuing those investigation we make no prediction on anything that would come form those investigations," Shapiro said in response to a question.
According to the indictment filed by the FBI in the Chicago court on April 21, 2011, Sajid Mir is a resident of Pakistan and is associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba, who supervised and served as a "handler" for Headley and others who were directed to carry out actions relating to planning, preparing for, and carrying out terrorist attack on behalf of LeT. Abu Qahafa, a resident of Pakistan, is associated with LeT and trained other in combat techniques for use in terrorist attacks; while Mazhar Iqbal, also a resident of Pakistan was one of the LeT commander.
Finally one individual known as "Major Iqbal" participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by LeT, the FBI had said in its second indictment. According to ProPublica, Major Iqbal is a serving ISI official and handler for Headley - the first time the US government has charged a serving Pakistani intelligence officer with terrorism.
"Major Iqbal is charged with the murders of six US citizens who died in Mumbai. Pakistan has refused repeated US requests to arrest him," it said. Shapiro would not say on the co-operation from Pakistan in this regard. "Major Iqbal remains a serving officer in the ISI, and accused masterminds, including Sajid Mir, whose voice was caught on telephone intercepts as he directed the slaughter in Mumbai, continue to run the terrorist group, according to Western and Indian counter-terror officials," ProPublica wrote on Thursday.
As per court papers, Kashmiri was indicted on two counts, for "conspiracy to murder and maim in Denmark" and "conspiracy to provided material support to terrorism in Denmark. Abdur Rehman Hashim Sayed has also been indicted on two counts, while Sajid Mir has been indicted on all 12 counts, Abu Qahafa (10 counts), Mazhar Iqbal (10 counts) and Major Iqbal on eight counts.