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Tahawwur Rana sentenced to 14 years in jail

Last updated on: January 18, 2013 00:44 IST

Tahawwur Rana sentenced to 14 years in jail

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Lalit K Jha in Chicago

Tahawwur Rana, an accomplice of Mumbai attack terrorist David Headley, was on Thursday sentenced to 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release for the 'serious crime' of providing material support to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba and for backing a plot to strike a Danish newspaper.

The US District Judge Harry D Leinenweber gave his order after hearing from both the government attorney and those of 52-year-old Rana, during which the two argued on the  length of imprisonment.

The last minute arguments lasted for more than an hour and half. The Defence had sought a lighter sentence of about nine years citing Rana's poor health while the Prosecution  wanted a 30-year jail term.

"Based upon presiding over the trial and reading over the material that has been provided to me, we have on one hand a very intelligent person capable and willing to provide assistance to many people.

"What is difficult to understand how that kind of person is sucked into a ghastly plot that was proposed to go into the private office of a newspaper.We find that Rana got involved in this action which would have provided death and injury to a number of people. Fortunately it was stopped prior to being carried out," the judge said.

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Image: Tahawwur Rana


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Tahawwur Rana sentenced to 14 years in jail

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He added, "It seems to me that people who are determined to carry out terrorist activity really do not care about what is going to happen to them. As long as Rana is in custody he is personally deterred from any personal such activity.

"Providing a long sentence would make sure that Rana does not get involved in any kind of terrorist activity in the future".

The whole idea that Headley was sent to Copenhagen to place an ad in a newspaper when you can do it simply over computer from here, shows that 'the crime is serious', the Judge said noting Rana assisted Headley in going to Denmark for such a plot.

The Assistant US Attorney government attorney Daniel Collins said that 'terrorism enhancement' be taken into consideration for sentencing and pleaded for 'severe sentence' for Rana.

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Image: David Headley


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Tahawwur Rana sentenced to 14 years in jail

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Peter Blegan, Rana's attorney, argued that it is not applicable and claimed that the argument made by the government attorney is factually inaccurate. "The court finds that terrorism enhancement does not apply under the current terrorism act," judge Leinenweber said.

"This seems clear to me that the planned attack was on a private company on a private property...we had a plot to invade a private newspaper and a private property. It was a ghastly plot," he noted.

Rana was brought to the court in an orange jump suit several minutes after scheduled sentencing hearing at 10 am local Chicago time.

Gray haired Rana appeared calm, but weak. His wife could not be present as she was denied entry into the US from Canada by immigration authorities, Blegan said.

One of his sons was also not present as he was in college. However, a number of his other family members were present during the sentencing hearing, which was jam packed with battery of reporters representing both the Indian and US media.

Leinenweber said he has read and reviewed the positions of both the government and those of the Rana attorney. He said he has also received letters of recommendations in favor of Rana from his family, friends and other members of the society.


Image: The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai during the 26 November, 2008 attack


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