A Chicago businessman who provided support to a Pakistani terror group and backed a plot to kill staff of a Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Tahawwur Rana — convicted in July 2011 at a trial that made headlines around the world — was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, the Sun-Times is reporting.
The 51-year-old immigrant kept videos and books supporting violent jihad at his Chicago home and paid for lifelong pal David Headley to travel to Copenhagen to scout the offices of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, prior to a planned attack by South Asian terrorists Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Prosecutors said the foiled plot to behead newspaper staff and throw their heads from office windows prior to a fight to the death with Danish authorities would have been "murder on a grand, horrific scale." They urged Leinenweber to sentence Rana to 30 years behind bars,
But Rana's attorneys urged a sentence of less than 15 years. They said he sent only a few emails in support of the plot and had never done anything violent in his life. His greatest mistake, they said in court papers, was his loyalty to Headley, "a liar, a thief, and a master manipulator" he'd known since they grew up together in Pakistan.
Headley cooperated with U.S. authorities and testified against Rana to avoid the death penalty. His sensational trial testimony both doomed his old friend and linked the Pakistani security forces to the infamous 2008 terror attacks that killed 164 men, women and children in Mumbai, India.
Though Rana was cleared of involvement with that attack, he was convicted of providing material support to the group behind it, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and of involvement in the foiled Danish plot.
Evidence showed that he had said the victims of the Mumbai attack "deserved it" and that the Danish plot was "good" and "would be a huge event in the media."
Headley is due to be sentenced next week.
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC
By MICHAEL TARM
CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago businessman has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for providing material support to a terrorist group that staged the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India, that left more than 160 people dead.
A federal judge sentenced Tahawwur Rana on Thursday in Chicago.
Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and for supporting the Pakistani group. They cleared him of any direct involvement in that group's attack on Mumbai.
The government's star witness was American Pakistani David Coleman Headley. He had pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks. He testified to avoid the death penalty and extradition.
By MICHAEL TARM
CHICAGO (AP) - A 52-year-old Chicago businessman is scheduled to be sentenced for backing a terrorist plot in Denmark and supporting the group behind an attack often called India's 9/11.
The hearing comes nearly two years after jurors convicted Tahawwur Rana of providing support to a Pakistani group that carried out a 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, that killed 160 people.
He was also convicted of another count of material support for his role in backing a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Defense attorneys are seeking a sentence of no more than nine years in prison. Prosecutors are asking for the maximum 30 years.
Prosecutors say Rana's a terrorist. The defense says he was duped into committing crimes.
Copyright © 2013 Associated Press