India court issues arrest warrants for Mumbai attack suspects

[JURIST] An Indian court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 22 Pakistanis suspected of involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], including a founding member of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder], the Pakistani militant group suspected of carrying out the violence. Special Sessions Court judge M. L. Tahaliyani granted special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam's request to issue warrants for LeT founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, as well as current leaders Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah [Global Jihad profiles], on suspicion that they planned and executed the November 2008 attacks which claimed at least 170 lives across Mumbai, including at the landmark Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the central train station. Tahaliyani urged the Mumbai Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to issue the warrants through Interpol [official websites], which Nikam said [Times of India report] would require Pakistan to extradite the suspects for trial in India. Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Ahmed Khan said during parliamentary debate [IANS report] that Pakistan would try the suspects rather than turn them over to India for trial.

The Indian arrest warrant for Saeed comes three weeks after a Pakistani court released him from house arrest [JURIST report] after finding that there was insufficient evidence to continue detention. Tahaliyani is currently presiding over the trial of suspected gunman and Pakistani citizen Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, who has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges including [Times of India report] "waging war against India," which is punishable by death, "causing terror," destabilization of the government, murder, kidnapping, robbery, and the smuggling of illegal weapons and explosives. In February, Pakistan officials conceded [JURIST report] that the attacks were partially planned in their country. One scholar suggested that an international tribunal be formed [JURIST op-ed] to prosecute persons involved in Mumbai attacks in order to avoid further complications to the already unstable relationship between Pakistan and India.



 

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