Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Mumbai accused addresses court

A gunman walks at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008.
A still taken from Indian TV of an armed man at the Chhatrapati Sivaji railway station in Mumbai
People seek cover at the front of a hotel in Mumbai, India in this image made from television, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. Gunmen targeted luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India's financial capital Wednesday, wounding 25 people, police and witnesses said. A.N Roy police commissioner of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, said several people had been wounded in the attacks and police were battling the gunmen. "The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said Roy. Gunmen opened fire on two of the city's best known Luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi. They also attacked the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark. It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attacks. (AP Photo/STAR NEWS) ** INDIA OUT TV OUT **

The only gunman charged over last year's Mumbai massacre has addressed a court for the first time.

But Mohammed Ajmal Kasab appeared via video link to his maximum security prison because it was thought too much of a risk for him to appear in person.

Kasab, a Pakistani captured during the attacks, asked for an Urdu translation of court documents that include details of the charges he faces, his confession and witness testimony.

The court rejected his request, saying he will be given a lawyer who can read English and Marathi, the two languages in which the documents were printed.

Kasab, 21, was charged last month with 12 criminal counts, including murder and waging war against India and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Nine other attackers were killed during the three-day siege in November, which left 164 people dead and targeted luxury hotels, a Jewish centre and other sites across the city.

"The court has condemned the application of Kasab asking that he be provided a translated copy of the charge sheet, but we will provide him a lawyer from the legal aid department of the state government who will be well-versed in English and Marathi," special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters later.

Kasab has no lawyer and a prominent group of Indian lawyers has ordered its members not to defend him or any other suspects in the Mumbai attacks, making it likely that the government will provide him with counsel.

The trial will be conducted by a special court in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail where Kasab is housed.

India has blamed the attack on Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist militant group widely believed created by Pakistani intelligence agencies in the 1980s to fight India rule in the divided Kashmir region.

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