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Ajmal Kasab's death penalty stayed by Indian SC

10 October, 2011

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NEW DELHI: India's Supreme Court on Monday stayed the death sentence handed down to the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, pending an appeal hearing.

"This case has to be heard on top priority," Supreme Court judge Aftab Alam told the court. "It is the demand of the judicial system that we have to hear this appeal."

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who laid siege to Mumbai for nearly three days killing 166 people, was convicted in May 2010.

Kasab was found guilty of a string of crimes including waging war against India, murder, attempted murder and terrorist acts after a trial at a maximum security prison court in Mumbai.

The first appeal by the 23-year-old school drop failed in February, when the state high court in Mumbai confirmed both his conviction and death sentence.

India reserves executions, which are carried out by hanging, for the "rarest of the rare" offences.

During the trial, the prosecution produced fingerprint, DNA, eyewitness and camera evidence showing Kasab opening fire and throwing grenades in the bloodiest episode of the November 26 attacks at Mumbai's main railway station.

A number of senior police officers, including the head of the Maharashtra state anti-terrorism squad, were killed as the gunmen fled the scene of the carnage.

Three luxury hotels, a popular tourist restaurant and a Jewish centre were also targeted by the other gunmen.

End.

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