Kasab seeks life sentence

Govt counsel Ujjwal Nikam said only death penalty was justified for Kasab who had mercilessly killed innocent people.

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2010, 21:37 PM IST

Mumbai: Lawyers of Pakistani gunman Ajmal
Kasab on Tuesday urged the Bombay High Court not to make him a
martyr by hanging him even as the state justified capital
punishment saying he had committed heinous crime against
humanity by participating in the 26/11 attacks.

"Kasab was not the brain behind the attacks and also
he had not taken active part in the conspiracy to destabilise
India with terror strikes...it would suffice if he was given a
lifer rather than a death sentence which would make him a
martyr," argued defence lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah.

Kasab had come here (to Mumbai) to die and by giving
him death sentence you will make him a martyr, they argued.

However, government counsel Ujjwal Nikam said only
death penalty was justified for Kasab who had mercilessly
killed innocent people.

Kasab also wanted to gun down innocent patients at
Cama Hospital but the gates were locked well in time by nurses
thereby preventing his entry. Although Cama hospital was not
on the radar of terrorists, Kasab and his partner had entered
its premises only to gun down indoor patients, Nikam said.

Kasab`s lawyers argued that he was not the kingpin of
the conspiracy and at the most could be described as a
contract killer. He had not planned the conspiracy and was
perhaps brain-washed by conspirators to commit terror acts.

"Do not hang him, give him life imprisonment for this
alone would serve as deterrent to others who may be planning
to become `fidayeens` (human bombs)," argued his lawyers.

This prompted Justice Ranjana Desai to ask, "Do you
think by giving him life sentence we would be able to prevent
terrorist attacks in future. What message would you like to
give to the society," she asked.

Arguments on confirmation of death sentence awarded to
Kasab as well as his appeal against his conviction, concluded
today. The high court will now hear both sides on the appeal
filed the state against the acquittal of Faheem Ansari and
Sabauddin Ahmed on account of "doubtful" evidence.

Nikam argued that Kasab had voluntarily joined LeT for
committing terrorist acts in India. When the plan of attacks
was deferred by conspirators he became impatient and told them
he wanted to strike terror.

Even at Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus, Kasab
was in joyous mood after killing people. This was evident from
the photographs taken by a journalist, Nikam said.

Kasab had told a magistrate while giving confession
that he was voluntarily disclosing his role in the 26/11
attacks because he wanted to motivate other `fidayeens` from
committing similar terror acts, Nikam submitted. If death penalty has to be imposed on a convict, then
the court should consider not only his actual age but also his
mental age, Nikam said. "Kasab was not only sufficiently
matured when he committed the crime but also was capable of
understanding the consequences of the terror acts."

Nikam also said that public outcry must be considered
in such cases while awarding sentence to a convict.

However, Kasab`s lawyer Solkar disagreed with Nikam`s
argument saying the high court should not get swayed by the
public sentiment and must weigh the case on merits. The
sentence must be retributive and not deterrent, he argued.

PTI