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American Mumbai Plotter Gets 35 Years

David Coleman Headley, an American citizen, was sentenced on Thursday to 35 years in prison for his role in the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai that has been called India’s 9/11.

Headley ‘s meticulous scouting missions facilitated the assault by 10 Pakistani gunmen, who killed 160 people, including children.

The attackers arrived by boat on Nov. 26, 2008, carrying grenades and automatic weapons, and spread out to hit multiple targets: train station, a Chabad-Lubavitch center and the Taj Mahal Hotel.

“I don’t have any faith in Mr. Headley when he says he’s a changed person and believes in the American way of life,” said U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber in imposing the sentence, which was in accordance with the prosecution’s request, in recognition of Headley’s cooperation.

Before sentencing, one of Headley’s victims, Linda Ragsdale, a Tennessee children’s author, testified during the hearing Thursday morning. She spoke through tears about the friends she had lost in the attacks and about her own injuries. She said she was haunted by the sounds of people suffering and was still recovering from her injuries.

“I know what a bullet can do to every part of the human body,” she said. “I know the sound of life leaving a 13-year-old child. These are things I never needed to know, never needed to experience.”

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