WASHINGTON: A Chicago judge on Thursday handed Tahawwur Rana a 14 year jail term for providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba and for conspiring to provide material support for a plot involving attacks on the office of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The sentencing was announced by US District Judge Henry Leinenweber, and includes an additional five years of supervised release.
A jury had convicted Rana, a friend of David Coleman Headley who has pleaded guilty to plotting the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, in June 2011.
Rana had previously been acquitted of providing support to the Mumbai attacks’ plot.
According to a statement issued by the US Attorney’s office in Chicago, the judge said, “This certainly was a dastardly plot.”
The statement held that Rana had been convicted of conspiracy to “provide material support to a plot from October 2008 to October 2009 to commit murder in Denmark, including a horrific plan to behead employees of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, and throw their heads on to the street in Copenhagen, as well as providing material support, from late 2005 to October 2009, to Lashkar, a militant jihadist organisation operating in Pakistan.”
The Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco said in the statement that “as established at trial, Tahawwur Rana provided critical support to David Headley and other terrorists from his base in the United States, knowing they were plotting attacks overseas.”
Rana, who was childhood friends with Headley and attended the Hasan Abdal cadet college with him, moved to Canada after refusing to go back to duty as a doctor for the Pakistan Army, following which, he settled in Chicago with his family. Throughout the trial, Rana’s wife and daughter attended the hearings, and heard as Rana was accused of, amongst other things, comparing Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Sajid Mir to Khalid Bin Waleed, and calling the 26/11 attacks “tactically brilliant.” Rana, who ran an immigration office in Chicago, was arrested in October 2009 along with David Headley.
The statement said that Rana had admitted to knowing that LeT was a terrorist organisation, and that David Headley had attended LeT’s training camps in Pakistan.