Pak court adjourns Mumbai attack case till May 22

Last Updated: Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 15:03

Islamabad: A Pakistani court conducting the
trial of LeT`s operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six
other suspects in the Mumbai attack case adjourned proceedings
till May 22 after the prosecution sought more time to gain
access to Ajmal Kasab, sentenced to death by an Indian court.

Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan of the Rawalpindi-based
anti-terrorism court put off the case for two weeks after the
prosecution filed an application asking him not to proceed
till Pakistani authorities gained access to Kasab and Fahim
Ansari, an Indian national who was accused of involvement in
the attacks but acquitted by the Indian court.

The prosecution said in its application that the Pakistan
government had requested India to grant access to Kasab and
Ansari.

It also said the arrest warrants issued for Kasab and
Ansari by the anti-terrorism court had been provided to Indian
authorities.

The prosecution also asked the court to take action
against Kasab and Ansari under Article 87 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure.

The article states that if a person against whom a
warrant has been issued is absconding, the court can publish a
written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified
place and time within 30 days.

Lawyers defending the seven suspects, including Lakhvi,
filed an application in which they claimed the government was
resorting to various tactics to delay the trial.

Among these tactics is seeking access to Kasab, the
application contended.

The application filed by the defence lawyers also noted
that Kasab had been convicted and sentenced by a "competent
court" in India and could not be tried for the same offence
under Pakistani laws.

Khwaja Sultan, the lawyer for Lakhvi, told PTI that
Article 403 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 13
of the Pakistani Constitution clearly stated that a person
could not be tried twice for the same offence.

He said these provisions would apply to Kasab, who is a
Pakistani national.

Article 403 of the CrPC states that a person, once
convicted or acquitted, cannot be tried again for the same
offence. Article 13 of the Constitution makes it clear that no
person will be prosecuted or punished for the same offence
more than once.

Judge Awan issued notices to the prosecution and defence
to respond to each other`s applications and put off the case
till May 22.

The trial of the Pakistani suspects, which got underway
in April last year, has been mired in controversy and legal
complications over the past few months.

The defence lawyers have filed a raft of cases
challenging the trial.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed
by Lakhvi seeking his acquittal.

The apex court has sought a copy of Kasab`s confessional
statement and will take up the matter again on May 11.

The seven suspects Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Hamad Amin
Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Abu al-Qama and Jamil
Ahmed have been charged with planning and facilitating the
attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 15:03

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