Headley gets 35 years for picking Mumbai targets

FP

The US attorneys argued that while there is no question that Headley's criminal conduct was deplorable, his decision to cooperate, provided uniquely significant value to the US government's efforts to combat terrorism.

"We are seeking less than life-time sentencing, because of the significant intelligence value information provided by Headley. Crime is deplorable, shocking and horrific. I am not going to find the words to describe the Mumbai terrorist attack. The job is to balance the how serious the crime was and the information he provided immediately after his arrest," Collins said.

"We have to recognize the significant value of the information. We believe that 30-35 years of imprisonment would be justified an balanced and thus be downgraded from life sentence," he said.

Besides providing insight into the personnel, structure, methods, abilities and plans of LeT, Headley took active steps to further the investigation into other terrorists including his handler Sajid Mir.

Mir was a senior Lashkar leader who was one of the main architects of the Mumbai attacks and acted as one of the controllers providing directions to the 10 attackers.

Sajid was Headley's handler. Abu Qahafa, a senior Lashkar member who provided combat and other training to the 10 attackers, acted as one of the controllers.

Headley's cooperation assisted the government in filing criminal charges against at least seven other individuals, and his testimony helped secure the conviction of one co-defendant, federal prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors also pointed out that Headley cooperated with Indian investigating agencies for seven days and that he has agreed to provide co-operation in the future as well through various means including videoconferencing. But his extradition has been ruled out.

"As the court knows, Headley's testimony helped secure a conviction against (Tahawwur) Rana. Further, Headley has agreed to provide truthful testimony in any proceeding in the United States if called upon by the United States Attorney's office, as well as any foreign judicial proceeding held in the United States by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory," Collins said.

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