Skip to comments.US snubs India: Death penalty not sought as Headley cooperated, says statement
Posted on 02/03/2013 4:50:17 PM PST by James C. Bennett
New Delhi: Coming under increasing criticism from India for not awarding the death penalty for 26/11 Mumbai Attacks plotter David Headley, US Authorities defended on Friday that Headley hadnt been awarded death penalty as he had cooperated with the security agencies during the investigation process. This decision was taken because of Headley's willingness to cooperate with law enforcement authorities -- American, Indian and others -- to help bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent other terrorist attacks," read a US embassy statement. The statement is being viewed as veiled snubbing to India's requests to award death penalty to Headley, or end of hopes of he being 'extraditing' to India even in the future. The statement comes on the heels of comments by Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid demanding death penalty and extradition of Headley for his role in Mumbai terror attacks. Headley received a 35-year jail term ,sans parole appeal, on Thursday,
The embassy statement cited Headleys favourable role in providing extensive information about various terrorism modules operating in different parts of the world including Lashkar-e-Toiba. It also disclosed Headleys help in gaining information about wanted terrorist leader Illyas Kashmiri. It also said that based on Headleys revelations, co-conspirator in Mumbai terror attacks Tahawwur Rana could be convicted for his role and sentenced to a 14-year jail term. Referring to the sentence without parole for Headley, the statement said: "It reflects both severe punishment for Headley's role in the heinous 26/11 crimes and a decision by the US Department of Justice not to seek the death penalty.
It said Headley provided information that was of substantial value "in our efforts to combat international terrorism and to save lives".
"Headley answered questions from Indian law enforcement.He Headley assisted US investigators in bringing criminal charges against five other terrorists," said the statement.
Stressing that the counter-terrorism cooperation between India and the US was "stronger than ever", it said the FBI had provided its expertise and testified in the Indian prosecution of Mumbai accused Ajmal Kasab.
It added that Headley's sentence marked another step in its efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the Mumbai attack.
"We are working together to see that those responsible for 26/11 and other acts of terrorism are brought to justice, wherever they may be," it said. (with PTI inputs)
David Headley deserved death penalty: US judge
WASHINGTON: A US federal court on Thursday sentenced Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley aka Daood Gilani to 35 years in prison for his role in the ISI-LeT sponsored 26/11 attack on Mumbai, with the judge expressing unhappiness over the prosecution seeking a relatively light term given the magnitude of Headley’s offences.
The 52-year-old Headley had entered into a plea bargain with the US investigators under which he escaped death sentence. But many were left surprised when the US prosecutors did not seek a life sentence for Headley.
Headley was ordered to serve 35 years, followed by five years of supervised release by US District Judge Harry Leinenweber.
There is no federal parole and defendants must serve at least 85% of their sentence.
“Mr Headley is a terrorist,” the judge said while imposing the sentence in a packed court. Leinenweber also said, “He commits crime, cooperates and then gets rewarded for the cooperation. No matter what I do, it is not going to deter terrorists. Unfortunately, terrorists do not care for it. I do not have any faith in Mr Headley when he says that he is a changed person now. I do believe that it is my duty to protect the public from Mr Headley and ensure that he does not get into any further terrorist activities. Recommending 35 years is not a right sentence.”
Asked if he wanted to make a statement, Headley, said, “No, your honour”.
“The sentence I impose, I’m hopeful it will keep Mr Headley under lock and key for the rest of his natural life,” Leinenweber said. The judge said it would have been much easier to impose the death penalty. “That’s what you deserve”.
Former US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who led the government case, told the court that Headley was involved in a “very, very heinous crime” but the judge should consider the “unusual nature” of Headley’s cooperation. Headley will cooperate with Indian investigators every way short of an extradition, including through further questioning and videoconferencing, the court was told.
Fitzgerald told the court that Headley, a former informant for the US Drug Enforcement Agency, “freely admitted” his role in the Mumbai massacre within half an hour of being given his Miranda rights following his arrest in Chicago.
The sentencing took place amid heavy security. Many people could not be fitted into the courtroom, delaying proceedings.
Headley order has victims’ kin seething
The lighter sentence of 35 years for David Headley was strongly challenged by the families of the victims. Speaking on behalf of the victims, a teary-eyed Kia Scherr, who lost her husband and daughter in the attack, told the court that Headley must be made to bear the consequences of what he did. “I feel that the magnitude of the killing that took place, David Headley has no right to live. He must bear the consequences of... this would be a morale outrage if Headley got only 35 years,” Scherr said.
Facing Headley, who had testified extensively about how he developed his faith and started hating India, Kia Scherr who testified on behalf of the families of the victims of 26/ 11 said: “I do not know you. I know you only from the testimony you gave in this courtroom. I have no understanding of how you choose this path. Your path is not my concern.”
In pleading guilty and later testifying for the government at the trial of co-defendant and school friend Tahawwur Rana, Headley admitted that he attended training camps in Pakistan operated by LeT on five separate occasions between 2002 and 2005.
In late 2005, Headley received instructions from three Lashkar members to travel to India to conduct surveillance, which he did five times leading up to the Mumbai attacks in 2008 that killed approximately 166 people, including six Americans, and wounded hundreds more. A week back, Leinenweber had sentenced Rana to 14 years of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for providing material support to LeT and planning terrorist attack against a Danish newspaper.
Headley has confessed he had undertaken numerous scouting missions for his handlers in Pakistan. He had videographed a number of targets in India including the iconic Taj hotel in Mumbai which was attacked by 10 LeT terrorists.
According to security agencies, the detailed video made by Headley was the foundation on which 26/11 was planned and carried out. Headley, born to a Pakistani father and American mother, had even changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006 to easily move in and out of India without raising suspicion.
US attorneys argued while there is no question Headley’s criminal conduct was deplorable, his decision to cooperate provided uniquely significant value to the US efforts to combat terror. “We are seeking less than life time sentencing, because of the significant intelligence value information provided by Headley. Crime is deplorable, shocking and horrific. We have to recognize the significant value of the information. We believe that 30-35 years of imprisonment would be justified and balance and thus be downgraded from life sentence,” Collins said.
Former US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who appeared in court, urged leniency saying Headley’s decision to become an informant “saved lives”.
(With inputs from agencies.)
His neck needs stretching.
Instead, he gets a 30-year vacation, courtesy the American taxpayer.
When faced with the most immoral of terrorist kingpins, he'll cave if the dude says 'cooperate' ~
I think Fitz is a problem ~ probably has a contingent fee arrangement with AlQaida.
From the article:
“Headley hadnt been awarded [the] death penalty . . . “
. . . Slightly odd phrasing.
“Accepting the award for Mr. Headly will be...”
Taking odds on a pardon from the Sunni Muslim Food Stamp President on a Friday before a long holiday weekend!!!!
Fitzgerald only knows how to give American patriots the max, like Scooter Libby
I think this is better for India in the long run. They are having a huge debate right now about adopting the death penalty for truly heinous crimes. And *not* giving this guy the death penalty is really going to throw fuel on that fire. He seriously needs to die.
“Indias cabinet has approved harsher punishments for rapists, including the death penalty, after a brutal gang-rape in New Delhi that sparked national outrage... The changes, which must be approved by President Pranab Mukherjee and parliament to become law, include doubling the minimum sentence for gang-rape and imposing the death penalty when the victim is killed or left in a vegetative state.”
Though the death penalty is legal in India, they have only carried it out three times since 1995. And they have a huge surplus of villains who seriously need to be hung.
They still hang by the neck until dead, btw. A technique we should once again use.
Look for Headley to be a higher-up of sorts in the Hussein administration. A consultant maybe?
A lot of the debate over imposing the death penalty for crimes like rape is that it has the potential to increase the number of dead rape victims: if you face the same penalty for rape that you do for murder, and you’re a lot less likely to get caught if your victim is dead, you’re probably going to do away with the victim. The next problem is that it is likely to decrease the number of rapes reported, since rapes are often committed by people close to the victim (something like 3/4 of all cases here in India), the stigma of turning in a family member/close friend who then faces death is a hard obstacle to overcome regardless of what they did.
The Indians are aware of this, and so simple rape does not have such a penalty. Instead it must be a rape in which the victim dies, or is left in a persistent coma.
Far more importantly, and something which I have long hoped for, is that now, some women’s groups are attempting to change women’s cultural habits, so that women carry knives with them as a matter of course.
This will truly matter, because if enough women start to do it, and cutting aggressive males when they attack, it will cause a profound change to society, much like concealed carry has in the US.
Yes, some women will be beaten or killed for slashing or stabbing a violent male; but they are being beaten and killed right now. But what will happen is that men will have a moments pause before attacking a woman, and in that moment, many will change their minds, and decide to not attack.
Obama just makes friends wherever he goes....