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Pakistani Terrorist Sentenced in Chicago

  • VOA News

Family members and supporters of Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana leave after Rana's sentencing in federal court Jan. 17, 2013 in Chicago. (AP/ M. Spencer Green)

Family members and supporters of Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana leave after Rana's sentencing in federal court Jan. 17, 2013 in Chicago. (AP/ M. Spencer Green)

Pakistani-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for helping a terrorist group plot an attack on a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The defense said Rana was unwittingly lured into the plot by his lifelong friend, David Coleman Headley, an American of Pakistani origin who was employed at a Chicago-based business Rana owned.

A June 7, 2011 courtroom sketch shows Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana (L) in federal court in Chicago.

A June 7, 2011 courtroom sketch shows Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana (L) in federal court in Chicago.

A jury found there was insufficient evidence to prove Rana was involved with the helping the group carry out a 2008 attack in Mumbai, India that killed more than 160 people. But Headley has pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks.

The prosecution said Rana gave Headley a job to facilitate his terrorist activities, while Rana's lawyers said he employed Headley merely as a favor to a friend and did not know the extent of his plots.

Headley testified against Rana as part of a plea-bargain agreement to avoid the death penalty. Headley is to be sentenced next week.

Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency has long been suspected of involvement in the Mumbai attacks, and three ISI agents were named as co-conspirators by U.S. prosecutors. Headley testified the ISI's involvement in the Mumbai plot was limited to a handful of rogue agents.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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