Chicago: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Pakistani-American David Headley, a key player in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, has lost his right to live as a free man, one of the victims told a court here and said people in India would be outraged if he got only 35 years in prison.
"Headley has lost his right to live as a free man," Linda Ragsdale, a Nashville, Tennessee children's author, who was shot in the back during the 2008 rampage, told US District Judge Harry Leinenweber before he sentenced Headley to 35 years in prison Thursday.
"He must bear the consequences for the rest of his life. It would be a moral outrage to all the victims and even those still in India if he gets only 35 years," she said.
Ragsdale told the judge how surprised she was by the youth of the terrorists who stormed into a hotel's first-floor cafe while she was eating there, according to the Tribune.
She recalled wondering how a man as young as her son could kill innocent people. Holding back tears, Ragsdale described a barrage of bullets so intense that "waves of heat clouded" her vision.
"I know what a bullet could do to every part of the human body," Ragsdale 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," she was quoted as saying.
Ragsdale also read from a statement written by another survivor of the shooting at the Oberoi Hotel who said it would be an "appalling dishonour" if Headley was sentenced to the 30 to 35 years in prison recommended by federal prosecutors.
James Kreindler, an attorney for relatives of American victims, said: "I and victims' families think he should spend the life in prison."
"Thirty-five years will upset some people ... but if that sentence means you got good information out of him ... and he gets out with a few years to live, some can tolerate it," he was quoted as saying by local WLS TV, an ABC news affiliate.