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Asia-pacific

Court upholds death penalty for Mumbai attacker

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-02-21

India’s High Court has upheld the death sentence for the sole surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and brought relations between India and Pakistan to a new low.

REUTERS - India's High Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for the only surviving gunman in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national, was one of ten gunmen who carried out the coordinated attacks on key landmarks in India's financial capital, including two luxury hotels, the main train station and a Jewish centre.
 
In May, Kasab was found guilty of more than 80 charges, including murder and waging war on India, and was sentenced to death by hanging by an Indian court but that sentence needed approval from the High Court.
 
"The High Court confirmed the lower court's decision to sentence Kasab to death by hanging," public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said on live television on Monday.
 
Earlier this month, India and Pakistan agreed to resume formal peace talks after New Delhi broke off negotiations between the two nuclear-armed nations following the Mumbai attacks.
 
India had paused the talks, saying Islamabad must first act against groups operating from its soil, including Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, said to be behind the attacks and of which Kasab was convicted of being a member.
 
Pakistan has acknowledged the attacks were plotted and partly launched from its soil, and has put on trial seven suspects linked to LeT, which has been fighting Indian forces in disputed Kashmir since the early 1990s.
 
Kasab was filmed walking through Mumbai's main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.
 
Twenty Pakistani co-conspirators, including LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were also found guilty. A spokesman for LeT has denied the leader or the organisation was involved.
 
Islamist groups like LeT see India and the United States as foes against whom they must wage holy war. They also support independence for Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed in full but controlled in part by both India and Pakistan.
 
The two countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two over Kashmir.

 

Date created : 2011-02-21

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