Mumbai gunman to be hanged

Indian court gives perpetrator of 2008 attacks a death sentence.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 6, 2010 12:54
1 minute read.
Pakistani Mohammed Ajmal Kasab's attorney K.P. Paw

Mumbai trial 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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A court in India handed a death sentence to the only surviving Pakistani gunman in the bloody 2008 Mumbai attacks, on Thursday.

Judge M.L. Tahaliyani's sentence came three days after Mohammed Ajmal Kasab was found guilty of murder and waging war against India for his role in the attacks that claimed 166 lives in the nation's financial capital.

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A death sentence must be reviewed by the High Court. Kasab can also appeal the decision and apply for clemency to the state and central governments.

The November 2008 siege — when ten young men armed with assault rifles began their attacks on two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station — reverberated across India. Millions watched on television as the violence stretched over three days.

Kasab was accused of the most lethal episode of the siege — when he and an accomplice killed and wounded dozens of people at one of Mumbai's busiest train stations.

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India blames a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, for masterminding the attack.

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The judge rejected arguments by Kasab's attorney, K.P. Pawar, that he had committed the crime under duress and pressure from Lashkar.

The judge said Kasab joined the militant group on his own and trained to be a fighter.

"Such a person can't be given an opportunity to reform himself," the judge said.

Kasab covered his face with hands and wept when the sentence was announced.

Death sentences in India are carried out by hanging.

The special prosecutor in the trial, Ujjwal Nikam, said in an interview Wednesday that he expected it would take at least a year for Kasab to be executed.

Kasab's lawyer said that no decision had been made yet on whether to appeal the sentence.

"We're all very satisfied," said Deven Bharti, a senior police official involved with the investigation into the attacks. "I hope it will be a deterrent for Pakistan so they will stop exporting terrorists across the border."

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