US prosecutors seek 30 yrs for Headley accomplice

US prosecutors Tuesday sought 30 years' imprisonment for Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, an accomplice of convicted terrorist David Headley, for providing material support to the Lashkar-e-Toiba and conspiring for a terror attack on a Danish newspaper.

A federal grand jury in June 2011 had found 52-year-old Rana guilty of providing material support to the LeT and planning an aborted plot to bomb the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Rana, who was originally arrested in 2009 for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was acquitted of that charge. However, Indian investigators have charged him with being involved in the Mumbai attack and are seeking to question him for a second time.

Headley, who conducted reconnaissance of the targets of the Mumbai terror attacks for the LeT, has entered a plea bargain with the FBI, saving him from a possible death penalty.

"The government respectfully submits that the court... impose a total sentence of 30 years' imprisonment," Acting US Attorney Gary S Shapiro requested the Chicago court in a position paper.

Rana's sentencing is scheduled for January 17. Referring to the heart attack Rana suffered in June 2012, Rana's attorney Patrick W Blegan has urged the court for a lighter sentencing. In the position paper ahead of Rana's scheduled sentencing — which has been postponed two times already — federal prosecutors alleged that he was involved in the terrorist attack on the Danish newspaper.

"The government introduced a recording in which the defendant discussed Denmark as a target. And, when Rana heard the gruesome details of the murderous plan, his stark response was telling, 'good', and he said, 'this would be a huge event in the media'. This was not the first time that Rana applauded mass murder," the Acting US Attorney said.

After 166 people were killed in the Mumbai attack by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Rana simply stated that the victims "deserved it". Rana praised the attack, stating in a recorded conversation that it struck "fear in the hearts of Indians".

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