x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mumbai attacks plotter faces US sentencing in January

A US national who used his western appearance to carry out surveillance ahead of the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege will be sentenced on January 17.

CHICAGO // A US national who used his western appearance to carry out surveillance ahead of the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege will be sentenced on January 17.

David Coleman Headley, 52, admitted to 12 terror charges in March 2010 after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty or to extradite him to India, Pakistan or Denmark to face related charges.

He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

The Mumbai siege began on November 26, 2008, and lasted nearly three days. Militants killed 166 people, making it the deadliest militant attack in India since independence.

The United States came under fire in India for reaching the deal with Headley, but prosecutors said it was well worth it given the valuable intelligence he provided to avoid a possible death sentence.

Headley also testified against his childhood friend, the Pakistan-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who was convicted on two terrorism charges last year.

Rana, 51, faces up to 30 years in jail for helping the banned Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba plan an attack on a Danish newspaper that sparked outrage by publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

However, a jury found there was insufficient evidence that Rana was involved in the Mumbai attacks, even though Headley described how he had used Rana's immigration services business as a cover while conducting surveillance in India's financial capital.

Rana will be sentenced on January 15.

The only one of 10 heavily-armed militants to have survived the siege - the Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab - was hanged in an Indian prison last week.

* Agence France-Presse