Man sentenced in terror plot against Danish newspaper
By Chicago Tribune
Published: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 10:10 p.m.
CHICAGO — A former Chicago businessman was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison for his involvement in one of the most significant terrorism cases ever brought in Chicago.
Tahawwur Rana was convicted by a federal jury in 2011 of aiding in a plot to behead employees at a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons stirred outrage among Muslim world.
Rana faced up to 30 years in prison. He let a friend — who was scouting out the newspaper office in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen — use the cover that he was traveling in connection with Rana's immigration business. The attack was aborted.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber made rulings that lowered the maximum faced by Rana to 14 years under federal sentencing guidelines.
Two of Rana's adult children expressed relief following the sentencing.
The federal jury that convicted Rana in connection with the plot acquitted him of an even more serious charge —that he aided in the planning of the 2008 terrorist attacks that killed more than 160 people in Mumbai, India's largest city. He would have faced life in prison if he had been convicted of that offense.
Rana's attorneys had argued for a sentence of seven to nine years in prison, saying that Rana was not a terrorist and was a minor player in the Danish newspaper conspiracy that involved influential terrorist leaders.
Rana, a Pakistani native, immigrated to the United States from Canada. He worked as a doctor before settling into Chicago, where he set up several businesses and raised three children with his wife.
The highly watched trial that drew international media attention included testimony from self-admitted terrorist David Coleman Headley, a childhood friend of Rana. Headly pleaded guilty in both the Danish and Mumbai terror attacks and is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
At trial, Rana's lawyers portrayed their client as Headley's dupe and said the friendship led to Rana's downfall.
In arguing for the maximum sentence, federal prosecutors cast Rana as fully committed to subverting the governments in India and Denmark.
In sentencing documents, they said Rana “engaged in extensive terrorist tradecraft” in the newspaper plot by setting up secret email accounts, passing messages among other conspirators and providing Headley with the cover as an employee of his immigration business so that he could scout the newspaper offices in Copenhagen.
Rana's attorneys argued in their own sentencing papers that there was no evidence that the planned newspaper office attack was part of a broader terror plot. Rather, they said, it was a retaliation against the paper for publishing the cartoons.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Oregon reservoir to be flushed because of urinating teen
- Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
- Obama, House Republicans trade accusations in thwarting immigration reform
- Study says regular pot use affects the brain
- AC/DC not disbanding, lead singer Brian Johnson says
- 1986 Warhol self-portraits up for sale
- Hoax bomb case causes concerns in Boston
- US Airways’ pornographic tweet won’t cost anyone a job
- Federal judge strikes down North Dakota abortion ban
- Energy Department solicits research into methane hydrates, or ‘frozen gas,’ as energy source
- Probation officer of suspect in slaying of North Allegheny graduate resigns