On Thursday, a Pakistani-born Chicago businessman, Tahawwur Rana, 52, was sentenced by a U.S. federal judge to 14 years in prison. Rana, is a former doctor of the Pakistani Army with Canadian citizenship. He was found guilty of supporting Lashkar-e-Taiba, a deadly Pakistani militant group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which a squad of terrorists armed with assault rifles killed 166 people.
Rana had also been found guilty in June of conspiring to attack a Danish newspaper and planning to behead employees of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. That operation was never carried out.
Rana was not found complicit in the Mumbai attacks, and during the trial, the key witness , David Headley, also a childhood friend of Rana, said the ISI, or Pakistan’s intelligence agency, was behind the Mumbai attack. Headley, who is an American, but whose father is Pakistani, will be sentenced on Jan 24.
During the sentencing, Judge Harry Leinenweber said that he had received many letters from family members, friends, and others from Rana’s network, testifying that Rana was an “intelligent man willing to provide assistance in a good way to many, many people.”
The judge commented, “What is puzzling … is how this kind of person could get sucked into a dastardly plot.”
However, prosecutor Daniel Collins pointed out that Rana knew full well what Lashkar-e-Taiba represented, and “he knew they had blood on their hands and it didn’t give him pause for a moment and he helped them.”
Rana’s lawyer argued, “He is a good man and got sucked into something … But there’s no risk that he’ll do it again, None.” Rana’s defense team plans to appeal his conviction.