Mumbai terror attack: Kasab pleads for life in SC

The sole convict in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, today pleaded with the Supreme Court to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who has been appointed as amicus curiae by the apex court to defend Kasab, told a bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam that he was not a part of the larger conspiracy for waging war against the nation.

Stressing on Kasab's age as an important factor to commute his sentence, he pleaded for a lenient approach as he was drawn into this by exploitation of religious faith and false ideology."The choice before the Supreme Court is life (imprisonment) and irreversible death penalty. It would not be prudent to affirm the extreme penalty," he said.

"Even if I am guilty under section 302 (punishment for murder) of the IPC and other provisions, it cannot be said that I was a part of the larger conspiracy of waging war," he submitted on behalf of Kasab.

Maintaining that the prosecution has failed to prove the case against him beyond doubts, he told the bench that his right against self-incrimination as well as his right to get himself adequately represented by a counsel to defend himself in the case have been violated during the trial.

The apex court had on October 10 last year stayed the death sentence of 24-year-old Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the November, 2008, Mumbai attack. In the special leave petition filed by Kasab challenging the Bombay High Court judgement, he claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the heinous crime in the name of "God" and that he does not deserve capital punishment owing to his young age.

Kasab has been lodged in Arthur Road prison in Mumbai and had moved the SLP through jail authorities. He had challenged his conviction and death sentence in the terror attack case.

Kasab, along with nine other Pakistani terrorists, had landed at Budhwar Park in south Mumbai on November 26, 2008, night after travelling from Karachi by sea and had gone on a shooting spree at various city landmarks, leaving 166 people dead and many more wounded.

While Kasab was captured, the other terrorists in the group were killed by police in counter-terror operations. He was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on May 6, 2010.
The Bombay High Court had on February 21, 2011, upheld the trial court order of death sentence to Kasab for the "brutal and diabolical" attacks aimed at "destabilising" the government.

Kasab's death penalty was upheld on charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror law -- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The High Court had upheld Kasab's conviction on 19 counts under the IPC, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, the Foreigners Act, the Passport Act and the Railway Act. 

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