Man gets 14 years in plot against Danish newspaper

In this courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley faces a US District Court judge on March 18, 2010 in Chicago.

Story highlights

  • Businessman sentenced to 14 years
  • He was convicted of supporting plot, terror group
  • The Pakistan native was convicted last year

A Canadian citizen was sentenced Thursday in Chicago to 14 years in prison for aiding a plot to attack a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Tahawwur Rana, 52, was convicted in June 2011 of conspiracy to provide material support in the plot against the Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten newspaper and of providing material support to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Tayyiba-terror organization.

Rana, a native of Pakistan, was found not guilty of providing support for the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which more than 160 people were killed, including six Americans.

David Coleman Headley, an alleged co-conspirator of Rana's, performed surveillance prior to those Mumbai attacks.

Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to a dozen terror charges, including aiding and abetting the murders of the Americans in the Mumbai assault. He agreed to cooperate with the government and avoid a possible death penalty. Headley is due to be sentenced next Thursday and is facing up to life in prison.

Headley testified against Rana, whom he had known since the two attended the same high school in Pakistan.

Rana had a Chicago-based immigration business and Headley said he pretended to be working for that business during overseas travels as a cover for his surveillance activities. Headley took part in the plot against the Danish paper, as well as the Mumbai operation.

At Rana's trial, the defense argued that he had no idea what Headley was up to, and that Headley was lying to avoid the death penalty.

The plot to attack the Danish newspaper was never carried out, but the government said the plan was to behead employees and toss their heads into the street.

"This serious prison sentence should go a long way towards convincing would-be terrorists that they can't hide behind the scenes, lend support to the violent aims of terrorist organizations, and escape detection and punishment," said Gary Shapiro, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

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