Sole surviving Mumbai gunman must hang, say prosecutors

Pakistan warned 'not to export terrorism' as court finds militant guilty of 86 charges

Prosecutors will today make their case that Ajmal Kasab, the young Pakistani militant notoriously captured on film during the Mumbai attacks, should be put to death after a court found him guilty of 86 charges relating to the assault on the city.

Prosecutors have said they believe the sole surviving militant from the group of 10 Pakistani gunmen who carried out the attacks that left more than 160 people dead, should be hanged.

"It was not a simple act of murder. It was war," trial judge M L Tahiliyani, said in a summary of the 1,522-page judgment. "This type of preparation is not made by ordinary criminals. This type of preparation is made by those waging war."

The attacks, in November 2008, considered by India to be its equivalent of the assault on the US on 11 September 2001, triggered a rapid worsening of relations between India and Pakistan, with formal peace talks put on hold. They also underlined the sheer vulnerability of Indian cities and the inadequacy of their security in the face of an attack carried by determined, trained gunmen.

The siege prompted calls for a wholesale restructuring in the country's poorly trained and under-funded security forces, though few major changes ever took place. Targeting, as they did, many high-profile, luxury establishments such as the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the militants also inspired fear among the wealthy and élite segment of Indian society.

While the 60-hour assault only paralysed a part of Mumbai, the shockwaves of the attack, broadcast live on television, were felt around the world.

During the attack on India's financial capital, 22-year-old Kasab, from a village in the south of Pakistan's Punjab province, was caught on film as he walked through the city's main train station. The jarring contrast between the militant's babyface looks and the AK-47 automatic rifle he was carrying made an iconic, if notorious image. At least 60 people were killed at the station alone, with many more badly injured.

Having initially admitted his role in the assault only to later withdraw his testimony, Kasab yesterday did not appear to react as the verdict was read to him by the judge. "The judgment itself is a message to Pakistan that they should not export terrorism to India," India's Home Minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, later told reporters.

Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, said: "We will respect the Indian court verdict ... When the full verdict comes we will see and then give a formal reaction."

India has said that the attacks were planned and carried out by the banned, Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and has demanded the authorities in Islamabad take action, especially against the organisation's alleged leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

It has handed Pakistan dossiers containing what it says is evidence that could be used to charge and prosecute Mr Saeed. Islamabad has said there is insufficient evidence for such charges to stick, but points out that alleged members of the LeT are currently being tried over attacks.

India has charged a full 38 people, many of them living in Pakistan. Yesterday 20 of them – including Mr Saeed – were found guilty in absentia by the court. However, in what appeared to be an embarrassment to prosecutors, the court decided that two Indians charged over the attacks were not guilty. The judge questioned much of the evidence brought against the two men.

Some of the relatives of those who died have demanded that Kasab be swiftly put to death, with some suggesting the execution be carried out on the anniversary of the attacks and even broadcast on television.

Deepak Bhonsale, the son of a police inspector killed in the attacks, told reporters: "Although it took more than 17 months to pass a verdict against such a criminal, I am glad we will finally hear the sentence. He has taken the lives of many innocent people. He should be hanged till death."

Though India has the death penalty and is currently holding an estimated 300 prisoners on death row, it has not executed anyone since 2004 when it hanged Dhananjoy Chatterjee, a security guard from Kolkata convicted of raping and murdering a teenage girl.

Recent reports in the local media have even suggested that none of India's jails currently has a hangman, the last executioners having all retired.

Mumbai attacks in numbers

59.5 hours from the first shot fired by the group of terrorists to the end of the siege at the Taj Mahal hotel



271 days Ajmal Kasab's trial lasted – swift by Indian standards



100 commandos used to clear the Taj Mahal hotel



86 charges against Ajmal Kasab. He was found guilty of most of them



600 witnesses called for the trial at a special court in Mumbai

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
news
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Arts & Entertainment
film
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal