Aman Sharma New Delhi, October 14, 2011 | UPDATED 10:15 IST
Lending a touch of irony, 26/ 11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab has approached the Supreme Court in appeal against his death sentence. But the plea he has made there, has been dismissed by his attorney S. G. Abbas Kazmi two years ago before the trial court pronounced its verdict.
Kasab has pleaded in the apex court that he was "brainwashed like a robot" into committing the dastardly act "in the name of god" and, "given my young age", had a chance to reform.
But a secret American diplomatic cable exposed by WikiLeaks shows that Kazmi had discounted exploring this avenue when the US had mentioned these very arguments to him in the trial court: if he would contact Kasab's parents in Pakistan to build up the case for mitigating circumstances which may help the convict escape the noose.
An official of the US embassy had met Kazmi on September 3, 2009, asking him if India would contact Kasab's parents in Pakistan to know the circumstances under which he was indoctrinated by the Lashkar e-Tayyeba (LeT) and whether he had been brainwashed. But Kazmi had dismissed the possibility of such a move, saying there were no funds to bring Kasab's parents to India and they would not get a visa.
"The death penalty is authorised in India only in rarest of the rare cases, Kazmi said, where there has been extreme brutality or inhuman treatment. The Indian law allows consideration of mitigating factors, such as whether Kasab had been brainwashed, but Kazmi is not planning on calling witnesses to testify on behalf of Kasab to explain the circumstances that led him to be indoctrinated by the LeT," the cable stated.
Kazmi ruled out calling anyone from Pakistan to testify on his behalf in the mitigation phase of the trial. Kazmi said: "I am an Indian citizen. I am not going to contact anyone in Pakistan." Even if he wanted to, there were no funds to bring such a witness to Mumbai, nor was it likely (that) the person would get a visa, he surmised. Further, he noted that no one from Kasab's family had contacted him, the cable added. Kasab's parents, Amir Shahban Kasab and Noor Illah, live in Faridkot village of Okara district. His family has rarely spoken up except when his father confirmed to Pakistani TV channels after 26/ 11 that Kasab was his son.
The US cable stated that even Kasab's defence lawyer was certain that the trial court would award him the death sentence.
"Kazmi said that given the overwhelming evidence against Kasab, he expected Kasab to be convicted and sentenced to death. Kasab's and Kazmi's fatalistic acceptance of the ultimate outcome of the trial appears to be shared by the public at large," the cable added.
Kazmi also complained to the US official that his attempts to provide Kasab with a "robust defence and fair trial" had been hampered from the beginning, the cable stated. "Kazmi is not permitted to confer with his client in private to prepare the defence.
Accessed 14th October 2011
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