Headley may dodge life sentence for Mumbai attack

Editors' Picks

  • Van Gaal seeking galactico touch for resurgent United

    Van Gaal seeking galactico touch for resurgent United

    Van Gaal seeking galactico touch for resurgent United

    By Ian Chadband LONDON (Reuters) - Louis van Gaal wants to recruit a new galactico match-winner for Manchester United in a bid to fulfil his ambition of bringing another Premier League title to Old Trafford before he walks away from the club in two years. Van Gaal, who vowed to stick to his promise to retire in 2017, cut an upbeat figure after the tour win over European champions Barcelona, suggesting that in his second year at the United helm his side could be ready for a more concerted …

  • Argentine goalkeeper Romero joins Man Utd

    Argentine goalkeeper Romero joins Man Utd

    Argentine goalkeeper Romero joins Man Utd

    (Reuters) - Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero on a three-year deal, reuniting manager Louis van Gaal with a player who helped bring him a Dutch title but also caused him World Cup heartache. The 28-year-old, who played under Van Gaal at Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, joins United as a free agent after leaving Sampdoria at the end of his contract. "To play for the biggest club in the world is a dream come true for me," he told United's website. …

  • Mexico beat Jamaica for CONCACAF Gold Cup

    Mexico beat Jamaica for CONCACAF Gold Cup

    Mexico beat Jamaica for CONCACAF Gold Cup

    Mexico spoiled Jamaica’s first trip to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final with a dominant 3-1 triumph on Sunday that gave them a record seventh Cup title. Jamaica had become the first Caribbean team to reach the final, but El Tri stole the storyline at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field by winning their third Cup championship from the last four played. Despite a fast and inspired start by the Jamaicans, Mexico quickly turned the tide and got goals from Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona and Oribe …

  • Manchester United sign goalkeeper Sergio Romero

    Manchester United sign goalkeeper Sergio Romero

    Manchester United sign goalkeeper Sergio Romero

    Sergio Romero becomes Manchester United's 5th signing of the summer …

  • Di Maria 'no show' adds fuel to rumours of PSG move

    Di Maria 'no show' adds fuel to rumours of PSG move

    Di Maria 'no show' adds fuel to rumours of PSG move

    Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal "does not know why" Angel Di Maria has not joined the Premier League club's pre-season tour of the U.S following media reports the winger is close to signing for Paris St-Germain. The 27-year-old Argentina international, who joined United for a British record transfer fee of 59.7 million pounds ($92.59 million) last year, was expected to travel to the U.S after being given extended leave following the Copa America. …

  • Reports: Manchester United in talks to sign Barcelona forward Pedro

    Reports: Manchester United in talks to sign Barcelona forward Pedro

    Reports: Manchester United in talks to sign Barcelona forward Pedro

    Manchester United will have to meet Pedro's £22million release clause to sign him from Barcelona …

Chicago, Jan 24 (IANS) Pakistani-American David Headley, a key plotter in the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attack staged by Pakistan based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), may avoid life imprisonment when a US court sentences him Thursday.

Citing the "significant cooperation" to US government's efforts to combat terrorism provided by Headley, 52, Washington born son of a Pakistani diplomat and an American mother, US federal prosecutors are seeking only 30 to 35 years in prison for him.

Headley, who changed his given name of Dawood Gilani to scout targets in Mumbai without arousing suspicion, has pleaded guilty to 12 charges relating to his role in the Mumbai attack as also an abortive LeT plot to attack Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

Ahead of Headley's sentencing, Gary Shapiro, the acting US Attorney in Chicago, in a memo to the federal district court said that the 30-35 year sentence recommended by the prosecution for Headley was fair.

"While his criminal conduct was deplorable, the uniquely significant cooperation which he provided to the government's efforts to combat terrorism support the government's recommendations," he said.

After he promised in 2010 to cooperate with US authorities, prosecutors "had agreed not to seek the death penalty against him and to not extradite him to Pakistan, India or Denmark for the offences to which he pleaded guilty."

Headley was the star witness against his Pakistan-born boyhood friend Tahawwur Rana, who was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison for providing material support to LeT in its plot to attack the Danish newspaper.

In his memo, Shapiro said "Headley played an essential role in the planning of a horrific terrorist attack" in Mumbai. He "not only worked at the direction of Lashkar-e-Taiba for years, but also with members of Al Qaeda."

But the information that Headley provided following his arrest and in subsequent proffer sessions was of substantial value to the government and its allies, India in particular, in its efforts to combat international terrorism, prosecutors said.

"Headley's cooperation assisted the Government in filing criminal charges against at least seven other individuals, and his testimony helped to secure the conviction of one co-defendant," namely Rana, it said.

Others included:

. Sajid Mir, a senior Lashkar leader who was one of the main architects of the Mumbai attacks and acted as one of the controllers providing directions to the ten attackers. Sajid was Headley's handler;

. Abu Qahafa, a senior Lashkar member who provided combat and other training to the ten attackers and acted as one of the controllers.

. Mazhar Iqbal, a senior Lashkar leader who acted as one of the controllers.

. Major Iqbal, who Headley reported to be an ISI officer who helped plan and fund the Mumbai attacks.

. Ilyas Kashmiri, the leader of Harakat ul Jihad al Islami (HUJI), a terrorist organization that trained terrorists and executed attacks against India. Kashmiri also worked with al Qaeda, meeting regularly with Mustafa Abu al Yazid, aka "Sheik Said al Masri."

. Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired Pakistani military officer who once belonged to Lashkar, but had starting working with Kashmiri.