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Mumbai gunman to hear sentence
Court says Pakistani man guilty of murder in Mumbai attacks to be sentenced on Thursday.
Last Modified: 05 May 2010 01:55 GMT
Kasab could face the death sentence for his involvement in the 2008 attacks [File: EPA]

India will sentence the lone surviving gunman convicted of taking part in the 2008 Mumbai attacks on Thursday, the judge handling his case has said.

The case was adjourned until Thursday after a special prison court in Mumbai in which Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab has been tried heard arguments from the defence and prosecution on Tuesday over the penalty to be imposed.

The adjournment came amid prosecution calls for Kasab, labelled the "killing machine", to be executed.

Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor, pressed for the ultimate penalty to be imposed on Kasab, who was convicted on Monday of murder and waging war against India.

Appeal possible

The crimes are punishable by hanging.

Two Indians, accused of providing the attackers with maps of Mumbai, were acquitted by the court for a lack of evidence. Both had faced dozens of charges.

Indian law permits death for the "rarest of rare" crimes but such a sentence must be confirmed by a higher court.

 
As the special court in India hands out the guilty verdict, victims' families await the sentencing

Kasab, who was found guilty on all 86 charges, can appeal against the judgment in superior courts before moving a mercy petition to the president, a process that can take years.

Nikam told the court that it "would be a mockery of justice if the death penalty is not imposed".

"He [Kasab] is an agent of the devil himself, a disgrace to society and the entire human race," the prosecutor said.
  
After the adjournment, Nikam told reporters that Kasab, a former labourer and school dropout, was "a killing machine and the factory for the killing machine was in Pakistan".

Kasab was one of the ten gunmen who attacked three luxury hotels, a railway station, a popular tourist restaurant and a Jewish centre during a 60-hour siege of Mumbai, which began on November 26, 20008.

Lashkar-e-Taiba blamed

The attacks left 166 people dead and more than 300 wounded, forcing India to suspended peace talks with neighbouring Pakistan.

India believes the attacks were plotted and executed by the Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and elements in the Pakistani military.

A number of suspects were convicted in absentia on Monday.

in depth
  Mumbai suspect accuses Jamaat chief
  Jamaat chief rejects Indian charges
  An exercise in futility
  In video
  Relatives of Mumbai attack victims await court verdict
  Mumbai: One year on
  Interview: P Chidambaram

India and Pakistan are only beginning to restart talks following a a recent meeting in Bhutan between Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, and Yousuf Razan Gilani, his Pakistani counterpart.

Security was stepped up as the court proceedings went ahead, with roadblocks set up around the court.

The interior ministry issued a statement urging citizens to avoid crowded places on Monday, while police increased patrols throughout the city.

Kasab was reportedly arrested in a stolen car at a roadblock shortly after the attacks.

Prosecutors presented a range of evidence during his seven-month trial, including fingerprints, DNA evidence, security camera footage and photographs allegedly showing Kasab carrying an assault rifle.

Kasab first denied the charges, then pleaded guilty, before reversing his guilty plea, claiming he was set up by police.

Thirty-five other people had been named as "co-conspirators" in the case.

Seven of them, including a founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, are currently on trial in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government last month asked India to hand over Kasab and one of his co-defendants, but the Indian government has not responded to the request.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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