US seeks 30-35 yrs jail for Headley

More than four years after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks claimed 166 lives, Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Headley, one of the main conspirators, is set to be sentenced in a court here on Thursday with the US government seeking a jail term of 30-35 years for him.

"The government submits that a sentence of 30 to 35 years' imprisonment strikes a fair and just balance between the aggravating and mitigating factors applicable to Headley. While there is no question that his criminal conduct was deplorable, his decision to cooperate, and the uniquely significant value that cooperation has provided to the government's efforts to combat terrorism, support the government's recommendation," Attorney Gary S Shapiro said in a 20-page position-paper.

The demand for 30-35 years' imprisonment for 52-year-old Headley is far less than what the US government had sought for Tahawwur Hussain Rana, held guilty by a federal grand jury for providing material support to LeT and planning a terror attack against Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper in Copenhagen.

Last week, the court sentenced Rana, 52, to 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release.

"Headley played an essential role in the planning of a horrific terrorist attack," the US government said. "Undeterred by shocking images of death and destruction that came out of Mumbai in November 2008, Headley travelled to Denmark less than two months later to advance a plan to commit another terrorist attack," Shapiro said.

The information Headley gave was of substantial value to the US and its allies, India in particular, in its efforts to combat international terrorism, according to the US government.

The US attorney informed the court that Headley had told his Rana after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that he was "even" with India now.

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