Kasab to be hanged: Supreme Court

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 29, 2012 10:55 hrs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of lone surviving Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab pronounced by a trial court in 2010, dismissing his plea for commuting the capital punishment to a life sentence in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Kasab wanted his death sentence pronounced by a trial court to be reversed.

He had appealed to the Bombay High Court first which upheld the trial court order in October last year and now the Supreme Court also upheld the trial court order of May 2010.

The apex court bench comprising of justice Aftab Alam and justice CK Prasad passed the verdict saying "we are left with no option, but to uphold the sentence."

They had earlier reserved the order after hearing the arguments of both the prosecution and defence counsels for more than two-and-a-half months.

"The Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal of Mohammad Kasab and upheld the sentence. It has confirmed the findings on the scrutiny of the evidence. The court also dealt with constitutional questions, international laws and legal issues and the right to legal representation," said senior counsel Gopal Subramanium who represented the state of Maharashtra in the apex court.

He said "ultimately this is a case which illustrates due process of law."

"The case was argued absolutely in a professional manner and in an dispassionate atmosphere.

"It is a complete victory of the due process and India must be proud that in a democracy we gave every accused an opportunity to present his case. It is heard in a spirit of calm," he said.

After the verdict, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the verdict is an important one.

"I am very satisfied that for the first time we proved in a court of law that Kasab and his nine associates had been sponsored by Pakistan. Pakistan´s army and terror outfit Lashkar were behind it," Nikam said.

"Pakistan encourages terrorism and now if the country is serious about curbing it it should also act against those who were behind Kasab," he said.

Kasab argued that he was denied free and fair trial and he was not part of a larger conspiracy of engaging into a war against a nation.

Kasab had filed the appeal from the prison that challenged his conviction and death sentence.

Raju Ramachandran was appointed by the Supreme Court to represent Kasab as an amicus curiae.

After the judgement, Ramachandran said he "bows before the verdict of the Supreme Court."

He said he was given full opportunity to say what he wanted in defence of Kasab.

Kasab has been lodged in a Mumbai jail since being captured following the Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead and over 300 injured.

He had been convicted and sentenced to death by a trial court court in Mumbai and later by the Bombay High Court in February last year.

Kasab was one of the ten Pakistan-based militants who launched coordinated strikes in vital places of India´s financial capital including two luxury hotels, a hospital, a Jewish centre and a railway station on Nov 26, 2008.

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