Kasab Appeals against Death Sentence

Mumbai, June 4 (IANS) Pakistani Ajmal Amir Kasab, convicted for the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, has challenged the death sentence awarded to him by a Mumbai special court, an official said Friday.

He did so even before the special court could send its judgement to the high court for confirmation of the sentence.

Kasab, awarded the death penalty by special judge M.L. Tahaliyani May 6 on various counts, approached the Bombay High Court through authorities at the Arthur Road Central Jail last week, it is learnt.

He forwarded an appeal along with the copy of the 1,588-page judgment to the high court through the jail authorities. Kasab has also requested that a lawyer be appointed to represent him in the high court.

Confirming the development, special public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam said "every accused has a right to appeal the judgement in the higher court".

"Kasab did the same. It is perfectly fine and there is nothing illegal about it," Nikam said.

"Kasab has an option of choosing a lawyer to represent himself. He also has the right to free legal aid, which was provided to him during his trial. The same will be repeated in the trial at high court, if the need arises.

"As for presenting the judgment before the high court, it will be done soon. Then the high court will fix a date for the hearing," Nikam added.

Nikam - who successfully led the prosecution case against the sole surviving Pakistani terrorist - declined to give a specific date when the trial court judgment would be submitted to the high court.

Kasab's application is likely to be placed before acting chief justice J.N. Patel and senior judge, Justice Ranjana Desai.

Kasab and nine of his accomplices had held Mumbai hostage for 60 hours from Nov 26, 2008, killing 166 innocent men, women and children. Kasab was the only one captured alive.

On May 6, after an 11-month long trial, the special judge had sentenced Kasab to death charging him guilty of murder of seven people directly and 65 others in common intention with his dead partner Abu Ismail.

He was also convicted of waging a war against India, attempt to murder, kidnap and robbery.

Kasab had been represented by S.G. Abbas Kazmi and later by K.P. Pawar, both appointed by the government, in the trial court.


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