India high court affirms death sentence for gunman in Mumbai attacks

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of India [official website] on Wednesday upheld [judgment, PDF] the death sentence for Mohammad Ajmal Kasab [WSJ backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the only surviving shooter in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Kasab, a Pakistani national, was convicted [JURIST report] in May 2010 of waging war against India, multiple murders and conspiracy for his participation in the Mumbai attacks during which gunmen targeted hotels, Mumbai's main railway station and a Jewish cultural center. The Supreme Court held that the death penalty was warranted in Kasab's case due to the massive loss of life that the terrorist attacks caused and the threat the attacks posed to the security and sovereignty of India:

In short, this is a case of terrorist attack from across the border. It has a magnitude of unprecedented enormity on all scales. The conspiracy behind the attack was as deep and large as it was vicious. The preparation and training for the execution was as thorough as the execution was ruthless. In terms of loss of life and property, and more importantly in its traumatizing effect, this case stands alone, or it is at least the very rarest of rare to come before this Court since the birth of the Republic. Therefore, it should also attract the rarest of rare punishment.
More than 160 people were killed in the 2008 attacks, which lasted for three days.

In October the Indian Supreme Court stayed the execution after Kasab filed an appeal challenging the death sentence [JURIST reports]. In February 2011 an Indian appeals court upheld [JURIST report] Kasab's conviction and death sentence. In January 2010 a judge denied [JURIST report] Kasab's request for an international trial after Kasab claimed that he would not receive a fair trial in India. In March 2010 US citizen and Chicago resident David Headley pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 12 counts of federal terrorism stemming from the Mumbai terror attacks and a terror incident in Copenhagen. A federal jury acquitted Tahawwur Hussain Rana [JURIST report], a Chicago resident with Canadian citizenship, of participating in the Mumbai terror attacks in June, but convicted him on two counts of planning to attack a Copenhagen newspaper after Headley testified at his trial. In December, Spanish authorities arrested seven men [JURIST report], including six Pakistanis and one Nigerian, in Barcelona suspected of aiding in the Mumbai terror attacks by allegedly stealing passports and other identification documents belonging to male tourists between the ages of 20 and 30, then sending the documents to Thailand where they would be forged and then forwarded to terrorist groups.

 

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