US seeks 30-yr sentence for terrorist David Headley's accomplice Tahawwur Rana

Tahawwur Rana

US prosecutors today sought 30 years' imprisonment for Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, an accomplice of convicted terrorist David Headley, for providing material support to Laskar-e-Taiba 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 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 the charge. However, Indian investigators have charged him of being involved in the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people and is seeking to question him for the second time.

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

"The government respectfully submits that the Court order the sentences on Counts Eleven and Twelve to run consecutively and 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. Citing poor health condition, Rana's attorney Patrick W Blegan urged the court for lighter sentencing.

Referring to the heart attack Rana suffered in June 2012, and the hospitalisations thereafter, Blegan said that Rana is in very poor health and requested the judge to take it into account while sentencing.

"It is likely that his health will continue to deteriorate. He will likely at some point require dialysis due to his kidney disease, and is, of course, at risk for a second heart attack or vasovagal event," Blegan told the court.

Federal prosecutors, however, opposed any move to reduce Rana's sentencing on health ground.

"His attorney have sought lighter sentence citing the heart attack he suffered in June 2012. This is not a compelling factor," the government's position paper said.

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