Lawyer for Mumbai attack suspect dismissed

April 15, 2009 18:50


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The first trial in the Mumbai terrorist attacks was abruptly adjourned Wednesday, only an hour after police pulled a large cloth off the head of the defendant to reveal the blinking, scruffy-bearded Pakistani police say is the lone surviving gunman. The presiding judge ordered the much-anticipated proceedings delayed after dismissing the defense lawyer for suspect Mohammed Ajmal Kasab for a conflict of interest. Indian authorities have gone to great lengths to ensure that the trial proceeds swiftly, safely and fairly, but Wednesday's proceedings suggest that Kasab - who could face the death penalty - will not be exempt from the notoriously slow wheels of Indian justice. Trial judge M.L. Tahiliyani said legal aid lawyer Anjali Waghmare failed to disclose that she had agreed to represent a victim in a compensation claim case who is also a witness against Kasab. Tahiliyani said he would appoint a new defense lawyer as soon as possible, but the development means the prosecutor likely won't deliver his opening remarks until Friday at the earliest.

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