05/06/2010, 00.00
INDIA
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Mumbai terrorist Kasav gets the death penalty

by Nirmala Carvalho
Court reiterates link with terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba and elements of Pakistani security. Controversy still surrounds the acquittal of two Indian nationals involved.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – A court in Mumbai sentenced Ajmal Kasav to death. He is the lone survivor from a group of terrorists who on 26 November 2008 killed 166 people (25 foreigners) and wounded more than 900 in a series of attacks against a number of crowded places: luxury hotels, a railway station, a hospital, a café and a Jewish community centre.

Judge M L Tahaliyani, who read out the sentence, called Kasav’s crimes “rarest of the rare”. The court accepted his confession, later retracted, in which he linked his group to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and elements of the security apparatus of that country.

The 22-year-old Pakistani from Faridkot was charged on 80 counts, ranging from waging war against India to indulging in terrorist acts.

During the reading of the sentence, Kasav was downcast and did not look up.

Meanwhile, a heated debate rages in India over the release of Fahim Ansari (36) and Sabauddin Ahmed (25), the two Indian nationals originally charged with providing the terrorists with a map of the city and the list of targets to strike.

For a number of opinion writers, the death sentence imposed on Kasav, a simple pawn, does not affect the terror network behind him. Nevertheless, ordinary Indians would “lose faith in the courts if this man is given life," the judge said.

Kasav can now appeal his sentence to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

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