Thursday 23 July 2009

The trial goes on

The trial of the main surviving suspect for last November’s terror attacks in Mumbai, that killed more than 160 people, will continue in spite of his confession. 21 year old Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab's defence team had called for proceedings to end and judgment to be given.

The accused had originally denied all the 86 charges he faces, then this week he suddenly changed his plea, dismissing suggestions that it was an attempt to secure more lenient treatment. Qasab’s nine accomplices, who had arrived with him by boat from Pakistan, were all shot dead by Indian police during the attack.

In his confession, Qasab said he had been disappointed by the small amounts of money he was earning as a decorator and had been planning to turn to armed robbery. Instead he decided to become a "Mujahideen". He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Mumbai, noted for its racial and religious diversity, has faced a number of attacks from Muslim extremists, like those of March 1993 that killed 257, and the train bombings of 2006 that accounted for 209. Hundreds of Muslims had been killed in riots in the city during the winter of 1992-3.

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