An American woman, whose husband and teenage daughter were among 166 people killed in the Mumbai attacks, has said the 35-year sentence for LeT terrorist David Headley “dishonours” the victims, asserting that the Pakistani-American “lost his right” to live as a free man when he helped plan the strikes.

Kia Scherr said that she is unhappy with the sentence handed down to Headley by a Chicago court adding that he deserved harsher punishment for his “deplorable act’’.

“I vehemently disagree with the sentence. It dishonours those who were killed and those who survived, whose lives changed forever,” Scherr told PTI in an e-mail.

Headley, who had confessed to undertaking several scouting missions in Mumbai for his handlers in Pakistan, had passed on photos and videos of targets, including the Taj and Oberoi hotels which were attacked by 10 LeT terrorists.

Scherr lost her husband Alan and daughter Naomi in the attack on the Oberoi Hotel. Her husband was shot in the back of the head and died instantly while her 13-year-old daughter was shot multiple times and bled to death.

“I don’t understand why there isn’t a greater value for the lives of the innocent. David Headley lost his right to live as a free man when he helped plan those attacks. Such actions should have greater consequences. There is no justification or excuse for this deplorable act,” Scherr said.

At Headley’s sentencing hearing in Chicago, other American victims of the Mumbai attacks also said it would be an outrage if he was let off with just a 35-year imprisonment.

Speaking on behalf of the victims, with Headley present inside the court room, a teary-eyed Linda Ragsdale, who was shot in the back by a gunman while dining at the Oberoi Trident, told the judge last night that Headley must be made to bear the consequences of what he did.

“I feel that the magnitude of the killing that took place (in Mumbai), David Headley has no right to live. He must bear the consequences of (what he did?)... this would be morale outrage if David Headley got only 35 years,” said Ragsdale.

(This article was published on January 25, 2013)
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