Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ajmal Kasab, 26/11 terrorist, gets death

Mumbai: Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist who killed scores of people during the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, was on Thursday sentenced to death by a court.

Special Judge M L Tahaliyani gave Kasab, 22, death sentence on five counts of murder, conspiracy to murder, waging war against the country, abetting murder and committing terrorist activities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Kasab was also awarded life imprisonment on five other counts, which included attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and violation of the Explosive Substances Act.
"In the court's opinion, Kasab has no chance to reform. Keeping such a terrorist alive will be a lingering danger to the society and the Indian government," said Tahaliyani while pronouncing his verdict, three days after he convicted him for the massacre.

The judge cited the example of the Kandahar hijack case in which arrested terrorists were swapped for passengers held hostage. "If Kasab is kept alive, this situation may occur again," he said. “Kasab has been convicted of grievous crime and that he should be hanged by the neck till death,” said Tahaliyani.

Kasab broke down during the sentencing and the judge gave permission to drink water.The court said Kasab had gone to the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Pakistan militant group blamed for the Mumbai attacks, voluntarily and offered to become a mujahideen.

The court rejected defence lawyer K P Pawar's argument that Kasab had acted on the directions of Laskhar founder Hafiz Sayeed. Pawar’s plea that his client should be given life sentence because he was young and was "blinded by religion" was rejected by the judge.

Kasab was found guilty of 80 offences, including waging war against the nation, which is punishable with the death penalty. Kasab and his associate, Abu Ismail, killed over 70 people at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, before heading for the Cama hospital, where they killed three senior police officers. As per the law, the death penalty will have to be confirmed by the Bombay High Court. Kasab also has the right to move the High Court against the trial court verdict.

Even if the High Court upholds the judgment, he can go in appeal to the Supreme Court. If the apex court too upholds the sentence, he has the option of filing a mercy petition before the President of India.

Ref: accessed on 6th May 2010