Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Mumbai terror attack trial will continue

CONFESSION: Defendant Ajmal Kasab has admitted on Monday to taking part in last November’s attacks but the judge ruled that he had not admitted to all the charges

AP , MUMBAI, INDIA

An Indian judge accepted the confession of the lone surviving gunman from the shooting attacks in Mumbai, but said yesterday the trial would proceed anyway.

The young Pakistani gunman, Ajmal Kasab, unexpectedly confessed on Monday to taking part in the attack last November that paralyzed Mumbai and killed 166 people.

The court had delayed a decision on whether to accept his confession and guilty plea, with prosecutors arguing that his statement was incomplete and accusing Kasab of seeking clemency.

In response, Kasab said he was willing to be hanged for his actions.

“Whatever I have done, I have done in this world. It would be better to be punished in this world. It would be better than God’s punishment. That’s why I have pleaded guilty,” Kasab told the court on Wednesday.

Judge M.L. Tahiliyani decided yesterday to accept Kasab’s confession, but he ordered the trial to continue because the accused did not address all 86 charges against him.

“The trial will proceed,” he said.

Kasab’s confession linked the attack to a shadowy group in Pakistan. The statement bolstered India’s charges that terrorist groups across the border were behind the well-planned attack, and that Pakistan is not doing enough to clamp down on them.

After the judge made his ruling, defense lawyer Abbas Kazmi asked to be recused from the case saying that his client had no faith in him.

“If he has no confidence in me, there is no sense in me continuing in the case,” he said.

The judge urged Kazmi to remain on the case and told the lawyer and defendant to discuss their relationship during a recess.

Chief Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had tried to get Kasab’s confession thrown out, saying it was neither complete nor accurate.

Kasab admitted spraying gunfire into the crowd at Mumbai’s main train station, and described in detail a network of training camps and safe houses across Pakistan, revealing the names of four men he said were his handlers. However, he denied killing four policemen.

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