04/15/2009, 00.00
INDIA - PAKISTAN
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Mumbai massacre: judge removes defense attorney. Trial against alleged attacker delayed

The lawyer has been found culpable of "professional misconduct" and "conflict of interest." She is believed to have contacted one of the victims of the massacre. Together with the accused Pakistani terrorist, two Indian citizens will appear before the judge, accused of affiliation with the fundamentalist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Another delay in the trial against Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, the only attacker who survived the massacre in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, in which more than 170 people died. Judge ML Tahiliyani has, in fact, removed defense attorney Anjali Waghmare for "conflict of interest" and "professional misconduct."

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab, 21, was arrested on the first day of the attacks, and has been held in an Indian prison since then. The other nine material participants in the massacre were killed by New Delhi security forces. The terrorist has been accused of homicide, attempted homicide, damage to public property, and "declaring war" on India. If found guilty, he risks the death penalty.

Judge ML Tahiliyani removed the defense attorney from the case because it did not "appear appropriate" for her to continue in the position. She is believed to have met with Sri Vardhan Kar - one of the people injured in the attacks - and to have agreed to represent him in court. "The interest of the victim and the accused clash with each other," the judge said. "Her appointment stands revoked immediately." The lawyer defended herself by claiming that she met with the victim only once, but did not sign any agreement to give him legal representation. The case has been delayed until a date still to be determined.

The actual case was supposed to begin last week, but it was delayed because the necessary security measures were not yet in place. Together with the Pakistani terrorist, affiliated with the fundamentalist Islamic cell Lashkar-e-Taiba, two Indian citizens are scheduled to appear before the judge: Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, suspected of having connections with the Pakistan-based terrorist group.

The dossier on the massacre in Mumbai contains more than 11,000 pages, including documents and evidence believed to demonstrate the involvement of Pakistani elements in the attack. New Delhi has accused the fundamentalist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to have enjoyed the support of Pakistan's intelligence and security forces. Islamabad has admitted that the authors of the massacre had part of their logistical and operational base in its territory.

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