Rana, named in Mumbai terror attack case, gets 14 years in jail
Tahawwur Rana, whose name had cropped up in supporting a Pakistani terror group that worked with the Pakistan’s Intelligence agency to launch the 2008 Mumbai attack, has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.
A federal judge sentenced the Chicago immigration consultant. Prosecutors had requested a 30-year sentence for Tahawwur Rana, 52, whom a jury convicted in 2011 on two counts of material support of terrorism of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and of a plot to attack a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Rana had been acquitted on charges of serving as an accomplice in the Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people, including six Americans. His 2011 trial, however, revealed strong evidence that Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), played a direct role in an operation that was designed to kill Americans and other Westerners. Pakistan receives billions of dollars in U.S. aid.
Rana's relatively minor role in the case grew out of his long friendship with the star prosecution witness: the enigmatic David Coleman Headley, who used a cover as a representative of Rana's immigration firm to do reconnaissance in India and Denmark.
Headley, a Pakistani-American businessman and former drug informant, avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to participating in those plots as an operative of Lashkar, the ISI and al Qaeda. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
At Thursday's sentencing, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber cited a key finding by the jury in Rana's trial.
Despite Rana's awareness that Headley was involved with Lashkar and the ISI as early as 2005, the judge said the jury had accepted Rana's argument that he was not aware of the Mumbai plot and that his support of Lashkar did not play a role in that 2008 massacre.
- Asian Tribune -