Chicago, Jan 15: US federal prosecutors are seeking the maximum 30-year sentence for Pakistan-born Tahawwur Rana for providing support to Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba that staged the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Although Chicago businessman Rana, a boyhood friend of David Coleman Headley, was acquitted of supporting the Mumbai attacks, he was convicted of supporting LeT and its aborted plot to attack Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.
Headley, son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, who changed his given name of Dawood Gilani to scout targets in Mumbai without arousing suspicion, pleaded guilty in both the Mumbai and Danish terrorism plots, and was the star prosecution witness at Rana’s trial.
A Chicago jury convicted Rana in June 2011 on the charges of providing Headley cover as an employee of his immigration business to scout targets in Mumbai and the newspaper office in Copenhagen.
In a filing unsealed Monday evening, Rana’s lawyer, Patrick Blegen, downplayed his client’s role in the Danish scheme, saying he was kept in the dark about much of the plot. He also noted Rana’s recent health problems, including a heart attack.
Rana, 52, is to be sentenced in Chicago on Thursday. Headley would be sentenced a week later on Jan 24.
According to Chicago’s local WLS TV, Chicago prosecutors said the alleged Danish plot involved beheading newspaper employees and depositing theirs heads onto Copenhagen streets and described it as “murder on a grand, horrific scale.”
Prosecutors said Rana, who lived in Chicago and owned a Northwest Side immigration and travel service, operated the business as a front for funnelling terrorist money overseas.