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American gets 35 years for aiding Mumbai terrorists

JTA

January 25, 2013 | 10:33 am

A federal judge in Chicago sentenced an American citizen to 35 years in prison for helping Islamist terrorists kill 160 people in India in 2008.

David Coleman Headley, a 52-year-old U.S. citizen of Pakistani heritage, was sentenced Thursday after an attack victim appealed on behalf of herself and others for a life sentence, the Associated Press reported.

Headley was arrested in October 2009 and agreed to cooperate with U.S. investigators and intelligence officials and to testify against one of his co-conspirators. He had mapped out the targets for attack, although he did not participate in the actual shootings.

Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to all 12 counts in his indictment. The charges included conspiracy to bomb public places in India, conspiracy to murder and maim persons in India, and six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of U.S. citizens in India.

The plea saved Headley from a death sentence, but victims had hoped for a life sentence. The 35-year sentence could see Headley freed on good behavior before he is 80.

Among the dead in the coordinated attack on targets across the city were six American citizens, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his pregnant wife, Rivka, the Chabad emissaries in Mumbai, who were killed at the local Chabad house.

Among calling for a tough sentence were Kia Scherr, whose husband Alan and daughter, Naomi, 13, were killed. Her message was read by Linda Ragsdale, who was wounded in the attack.

Ragsdale and Alan and Naomi Scherr had been staying at a retreat targeted in the attack.

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