Pakistani, Ajmal Kasab, found guilty of Mumbai attack
In the 2008 Mumbai attack, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab of Pakistan, was found guilty Monday on 80 charges, including waging war against India, which carries a life sentence or death penalty. Two Indians were charged, but acquitted, of providing logistical support.
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The verdict against Kasab was widely expected here, given the amount of evidence in his case – including more than 650 witnesses ranging from FBI agents and forensic experts to a child shot in the leg while boarding a train and an elevator operator who was used as a shield by the terrorists.Skip to next paragraph
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What was less clear was whether Kasab, as a foreign national and nonstate actor, would be found guilty of the most serious charges of conspiracy and waging war against the country. The latter offense is punishable only by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
"This was not a simple crime," Judge M.L. Tahiliyani said Monday. "A warlike situation was created, government forces were resisted ... the resistance put forward by the accused indicated a determination to fight a war.”
The 2008 attacks raised tensions between India and Pakistan, which have only recently begun to ebb. Islamabad initially denied that the attackers were Pakistani. More recently, they asked that Kasab be extradited to be tried in his home country.
Judge Tahiliyani had harsh words for the prosecution in the acquittal of the other two men, who faced similar charges. Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Sheikh, who were already being held in another terrorism case in north India, were alleged to have aided the Mumbai attackers by providing them with maps of the city.
But the evidence was unsatisfactory and the witnesses “unreliable,” Judge Tahiliyani said. Given the lack of evidence and the harshness of the punishments for the offenses they were being charged with, he said, “they must get the benefit of the doubt.”
Reaction to the verdict among some Mumbai residents is strong. Balchandan Gupta, a shopkeeper located near the prison, says the government has wasted too much time and money trying Kasab. "A man who can do such things should not be alive," he says.
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