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US court set to sentence Tahawwur Rana

January 17, 2013 15:28 IST

Tahawwur Rana, an accomplice of convicted terrorist David Headley, faces up to 30 years in prison during his sentencing in a United States court on for providing material support to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba involved in Mumbai attacks as well as for backing a plot to strike a Danish newspaper.

US prosecutors want 30 years' imprisonment for 52-year-old Pakistani-Canadian Rana, while defence attorneys are seeking a lighter sentence, reportedly no more than a 9-year jail term, citing his poor health. His lawyers are claiming that he was duped into participation by his school-time friend Headley.

Rana was convicted in June 2011 by a federal grand jury, which found the businessman 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 that charge. However, Indian investigators have accused him of being involved in the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and are 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 himself from a possible death penalty.

Acting US Attorney Gary S Shapiro has requested the Chicago court in a position paper that Rana be handed down a total of 30 years in prison.

Rana's sentencing is scheduled for today and his attorney Patrick W Blegan has urged the court for lighter sentencing, citing his client's poor health condition.

Referring to the heart attack Rana suffered in June 2012 and the hospitalisation thereafter, Blegan said Rana was in 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 recently.

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