Monday, February 21, 2011

Mumbai Gunman\'s Death Sentence Upheld

February 21, 2011

An Indian appeals court has rejected a bid by the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai terror attack to have his death sentence overturned.

Two judges at Bombay\'s High Court dismissed the appeal by Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab.

The decision was widely expected given the weight of fingerprint, DNA, eyewitness and CCTV evidence against him.

He can still challenge the verdict by going to India\'s Supreme Court and if that fails, he could apply for clemency from the government.

The now 23-year-old was convicted last May over his role in the attacks that killed 166 and injured more than 300 people.

\"Kasab killed innocent people mercilessly. He displayed extreme perversity and never showed any remorse,\" the Bombay judges said.

He has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest in a shoot-out with police just hours after the attacks began.

Kasab did not attend the appeal hearing for security reasons but he has been able to follow proceedings via a video link.

The appeal, which began last October, saw Kasab\'s legal team ask for a retrial.

They argued that his trial lawyer was not given sufficient time to study the 11,000-page charge sheet before the case began.

They also claimed that prosecution evidence and witnesses were manipulated.

Kasab was found to have been one of two gunmen responsible for the bloodiest episode in the three-day attack, when 52 people were killed at Mumbai\'s main railway station on November 26, 2008.

Three luxury hotels, a popular tourist restaurant and a Jewish centre were also attacked.

India blames the banned Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba for masterminding the attacks, which led to the suspension of peace talks.

Only this month did the two countries agree to resume dialogue.

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