Mumbai gunman's appeal rejected

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The Independent Online

An appeals court yesterday confirmed and upheld the conviction and death sentence for the surviving gunman from the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, in which 166 people died.

"The crime is of enormous proportion," the judges ruled while rejecting the appeal by Ajmal Kasab, 22, of Pakistan. He had been found guilty in May of murder, waging war against India, conspiracy and terrorism.

Kasab was one of 10 young Pakistanis who attacked two luxury hotels, a Jewish centre and a busy railway station in India's financial capital in November 2008. A photograph of Kasab striding through Mumbai's main station with an assault rifle in hand was one of the most famous images of the attacks.

"Kasab killed innocent people mercilessly. He displayed extreme perversity and never showed any remorse. He is a threat to society," the judges said.

Kasab can still challenge the verdict in India's Supreme Court and apply to the Indian government for clemency. Such motions can keep convicts on death row for years, or even decades. India's last execution – of a man convicted of the rape and murder of a schoolgirl – was in 2004.

India blamed the attacks on militant groups based in Pakistan. They increased tensions between the two countries and peace talks were suspended. Suspicions that Pakistan is not doing enough to bring the perpetrators to justice continue to hamper relations.