Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Kasab death penalty: Lawyers ask to expediate 26/11 terror case

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MUMBAI: Hanging 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab may be sooner said than done. While some from the Mumbai’s lawyer fraternity said a fair process is vital, others feel that death sentence cases such as these should be speeded up.

“I feel a high profile terrorism case such as this should be fast-tracked, not only in the special court or the high court but also in the Supreme Court,” said Mahesh Vaswani, a Bombay High Court lawyer.

“A special department at the president’s office can take care of the mercy petitions in the same manner,” he added.

Anil Singh, chairperson of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, agreed and said any further delay in the case is pointless.

Vaswani, however, also said that a lifetime imprisonment will be a befitting punishment for Kasab. “He should be imprisoned for life. It is a better punishment than death itself. He should be made to realise every single day of his life that he has taken many innocent lives,” he said.

Kasab was the only one of 10 Pakistani terrorists who attacked Mumbai Nov 26, 2008 to be caught alive. Striking at prominent locations in the city, they killed 166 people.

Kasab has been found guilty of killing at least 59 people in the 26/11 carnage. He has been charged with murder and waging war against the Indian state amongst other crimes.

He was sentenced to death May 6, 2010 by special judge M.L. Tahaliyani. He then appealed to the Bombay High Court, which Feb 21, 2011 upheld the death penalty following which he appealed in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court Oct 10 this year stayed the execution of the death sentence. It directed completion of pleading by Nov 30 and that the appeal be listed for final hearing Jan 31, 2012.

Eminent lawyers say in case the Supreme Court also upholds the death penalty, Kasab can file a mercy petition which will require the president.

Special Public Prosecutor for the case Ujjwal Nikam said everybody has the right to a fair trial and that a due judicial process is called for in a democratic country.

“It is due to this man that we could trail the terror links to Pakistan. This happened due to our systematic judicial procedure,” he said.

Criticising reports published in a certain section of the media, Nikam also said the government was not spending as much as it was projected.

“Some say Rs.50 crore has been spent on Kasab while others quote another figure. However, there is no official confirmation on any of the figures and I don’t think the government has spent that big an amount,” he said. (IANS)

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