Thursday, May 26

Rana trial Day 3: Thank Chicago Tribune for an amazing turn of events

Just when I thought nothing of great import was going to come out of this trial:
Rana trial judge orders release of some sealed documents on 26/11
PTI via Times of India
May 25, 2011, 08.28pm IST

CHICAGO: The District court conducting the Mumbai attack trial in the US today ordered that some of the over dozen sealed documents presented in the court as key evidences be made public.

Some of the documents are believed to have key evidence of links between Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency ISI and LeT and other terrorist outfits blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai carnage in which 166 persons were killed.

The order by U S District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber came on a plea by The Chicago Tribune newspaper which sought public access to over a dozen sealed documents in the Tahawwur Rana case. Details of which of the documents would be released was not immediately available.

The news daily had argued that keeping the documents under secrecy undermines the benefits of public scrutiny.

Invoking the First Amendment and common law rights, the paper asked the court to give it access to at least the redacted versions of the documents that have been presented under seals in the court and are believed to have key evidence of links between ISI and LeT and other terrorist outfits.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and covers the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The documents have not been made available to anyone. In fact, some of these documents are not even available to Rana's attorneys. Rana is the co-accused in the Mumbai attack case and his trial is likely to throw light on ISI's links to the incident.
Yes, the defense had tried earlier and failed to get some of those documents unsealed. But neither the prosecution nor the judge would want to see the Chicago Tribune launch a huge campaign over being denied access to the documents. I guess I shouldn't get my hopes up; the documents might be so heavily redacted as to throw no new light on the ISI connection to 26/11 or David Headley's work as an informant for the U.S. But at least the Tribune tried -- which is more than all the other U.S. news organizations did.

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