India court allows appeal by convicted Mumbai gunman

[JURIST] The Bombay High Court [official website] on Tuesday allowed an appeal by Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab [NDTV profile], the lone gunmen to survive the three-day siege of Mumbai [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that killed 166 in November 2008. Kasab, a Pakistani national, filed the appeal in June after he was convicted [JURIST reports] in May for his role in the terrorist attack, which was allegedly coordinated by Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder]. He was sentenced to death after the prosecution sought the death penalty [JURIST reports], citing eight aggravating circumstances. Two alleged Indian accomplices tried with Kasab were acquitted on all charges of helping to plan the attacks. The Indian government is currently determining whether to appeal [PTI report] the acquittals.

Judge ML Tahiliyani, specially appointed [PTI report] in January 2009 to preside over the trial of three suspects detained after the attacks, heard closing arguments [JURIST report] in the case in March. In January, Tahiliyani denied [JURIST report] Kasab's request for an international trial. Kasab claimed that he would not receive a fair trial in India. In December, Kasab withdrew his confession [JURIST report], claiming he was tortured and framed by police. Kasab originally pleaded not guilty last year, but interrupted his trial to confess and change his plea to guilty [JURIST reports] in July. Tahiliyani continued the trial [JURIST report] despite Kasab's confession, ruling that it was incomplete but should be entered into the record.

 

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