[JURIST] US citizen David Headley pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 12 charges related to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and an alleged conspiracy against the Danish creator and publishers of controversial cartoons [JURIST news archive] depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The government has accused [indictment, PDF] Headley of conducting surveillance for terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder] in Mumbai to prepare for the 2008 attack. Headley and two others are also charged in the same indictment with conspiring to bomb the headquarters of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten [media website, in Danish], which published the cartoons. Tahawwur Rana, an alleged LeT member who was charged with Headley, also pleaded not guilty in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website]. The US government has not yet apprehended the two men accused of plotting with Headley to attack Jyllands-Posten. A hearing is scheduled for February 23.
Earlier this week, an Indian court rejected [JURIST report] a request by the lone surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks for an international trial. Muhammad Ajmal Amir Kasab claims he will not receive a fair trial in India. Kasab, whom India claims participated directly in the Mumbai attacks, said during his trial that he met Headley, but only while in jail after being arrested. Headley was indicted [JURIST report] earlier this month along with Rana, a Canadian citizen living in Chicago, retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman, and Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged terrorist leader believed to have ties to al Qaeda. The indictment was a superseding indictment, reiterating charges originally brought [JURIST report] against Headley in December.