26/11: Kasab didn’t get fair trial, SC told
The SC was told that Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who was sentenced to death for his involvement in the 26/11 attacks, did not get a fair trial.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court was on Tuesday told that Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was sentenced to death for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, did not get a fair trial.
As the apex court today began hearing an appeal by Kasab against his death sentence, his court-appointed lawyer and amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran told the SC that the Pakistani has not been given fair trial in the 26/11 attack case.
After Ramachandran’s opening statement, the SC adjourned the hearing till another date to be announced later, reports said.
Kasab is the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 attacks. He, along with nine other gunmen who travelled to Mumbai via sea and laid siege to the financial capital on November 26, 2008 for four days killing 166 people and leaving scores other injured, was convicted by a special trial court in May 2010.
The 24-year-old Pakistani was convicted on a number of charges, including waging war against the nation, murder and terrorist acts.
The Supreme Court had on October 10 stayed Kasab’s death sentence till his appeal was disposed of. Kasab, contesting his conviction, claimed he was brainwashed by the co-accused to act like a robot and unleash the massacre.
The Bombay High Court had upheld the death sentence awarded to the Pakistani terrorist.
The apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice CK Prasad are hearing the appeal, which is likely to stretch over several weeks.
Kasab`s petition said: “The (Bombay) High Court ought to have held that even if the petitioner was guilty for the offence alleged, this wasn`t a fit case for imposing death sentence on the petitioner inter-alia for the reason that the petitioner`s mind was completely brainwashed by the other co-accused...”
“He was acting like a robot having been made to believe that he was acting in the name of God when he was allegedly told to commit the aforesaid offences,” Kasab`s appeal said.
Kasab said his mental and moral faculties were not fully developed at such a young age and hence, “it cannot be asserted that the possibility for reformation is non-existent and that the alternative to the death penalty is foreclosed”.
The 26/11 attacks saw 10 heavily-armed gunmen from Pakistan lay siege at several targets including luxury hotels, a Jewish centre and a train station.
India has accused Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant outfit of masterminding and carrying out the deadly attacks, and for training, equipping and financing the attack with support from "elements" in the Pakistan military.
If Kasab loses his appeal in the Supreme Court, he will have the option of seeking clemency from the President.
Kasab – who is lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail – had first pleaded not guilty to charges but later made a confession, admitting to being one of the gunmen sent by the LeT.
But he again changed his statement and accused the police of framing him.
In Pakistan, seven alleged conspirators behind the terror attacks have been arrested and put on trial, but no headway has been made in the judicial process there. New Delhi has dubbed the trial a sham.
A Pakistani judicial commission is expected to come to India next month to collect more evidence in the case.