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Us Defends Decision Not to Seek Death Penalty for Headley

NEW DELHI: In a statement, the US embassy here defended its decision not to seek death penalty for Headley, saying it was done in view of his willingness to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to help bring the perpetrators to justice and help prevent other terror strikes.

January 25th, 10:50Current Location:new delhiJan 25, 2013, 07.49 PM India Standard Time

by Susan Kumar and Biodun Iginla, BBC News

NEW DELHI: In a statement, the US embassy here defended its decision not to seek death penalty for Headley, saying it was done in view of his willingness to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to help bring the perpetrators to justice and help prevent other terror strikes. 

“The 35-year sentence without parole imposed on David Coleman Headley marks another step in US efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks. This sentence 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. 

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, it added. 

India made clear on Friday its disappointment over David Headley not getting a “harsher” sentence than 35 years in jail for helping plot Mumbai terror attack even as the US justified its decision against seeking death penalty for the Pakistani-American LeT terrorist. 

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid while asserting that India will try to push for Headley’s extradition from the US for facing trial in India said he would have got “harsher punishment” had he been tried in this country. 

As the lighter sentence for 52-year-old Headley came in for condemnation in the country, Union home secretary RK Singh said he and all those who were involved in the 2008 carnage, in which 166 people were killed, should get death penalty. 

Reacting to the sentencing of Headley by a Chicago court on Thursday, Khurshid said India is “disappointed” since the government wanted him to face trial in India where he would have been awarded “severest sentence.” 

“If the trial would have been held here, the punishment would have been tougher … the US legal system had no provision to extradite him, but we will still try and get him tried in India,” Khurshid told reporters. He, however, said the sentence handed over to Headley was a “beginning”. 

The home secretary said, “We want death sentence for Headley and those who were involved in killing of 166 people in Mumbai. We will keep asking for his death sentence.”Tags: bbc newsbiodun iginlasusan kumar

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