Jan 17 2013, 1:15pm CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Chicago, Jan 18 — Pakistan-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana was Thursday sentenced to 14 years in jail for providing support to Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that staged the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Although Rana, a boyhood friend of LeT operative David Coleman Headley, was acquitted of supporting the Mumbai attacks, prosecutors had sought the maximum 30-year sentence for his role in the aborted plot to attack Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.
Rana's lawyers, downplaying his role in the Danish scheme, sought a lighter sentence of no more than nine years, citing his poor health.
They argued Rana was kept in the dark about much of the plot. Headley, they said was a master manipulator who fooled Rana into supporting his terror activities.
But Judge Harry Leinenweber said he was baffled at the descriptions put forward by his family of Rana as a kind, caring person, saying it was so "contrary" to the person who aided the plot on the Danish newspaper's office.
"On the one hand we have a very intelligent person who is capable of providing assistance to many people," the judge said just before announcing sentence.
"But what is difficult to understand is: a person with that intelligence and that background and history of helping others ... how that type of person could get sucked into a dastardly plot that was proposed."
In new evidence submitted before the hearing, prosecutors sought to undercut the depiction of Rana as a dupe by presenting a telephone intercept of Rana's wife, saying that her husband and Headley were just alike and were both immersed in Islamic extremism.
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.
Headley would be sentenced a week later Jan 24.
In court filings this week, federal prosecutors described the alleged Danish plot involving beheading newspaper employees and depositing their heads onto Copenhagen streets 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.
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.
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