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Kasab Seeks Life Sentence, Lawyers Say Don't Make Him Martyr

PTI 14 Dec 2010, 20:34:34 IST
Mumbai, Dec 14 (PTI) Lawyers of Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab today urged the Bombay High Court not to make him a martyr by hanging him even as the state justified capital punishment saying he had committed heinous crime against humanity by participating in the 26/11 attacks.

"Kasab was not the brain behind the attacks and also he had not taken active part in the conspiracy to destabilise India with terror strikes...it would suffice if he was given a lifer rather than a death sentence which would make him a martyr," argued defence lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah.

Kasab had come here (to Mumbai) to die and by giving him death sentence you will make him a martyr, they argued.

However, government counsel Ujjwal Nikam said only death penalty was justified for Kasab who had mercilessly killed innocent people.

Kasab also wanted to gun down innocent patients at Cama Hospital but the gates were locked well in time by nurses thereby preventing his entry. Although Cama hospital was not on the radar of terrorists, Kasab and his partner had entered its premises only to gun down indoor patients, Nikam said.

Kasab's lawyers argued that he was not the kingpin of the conspiracy and at the most could be described as a contract killer. He had not planned the conspiracy and was perhaps brain-washed by conspirators to commit terror acts.

"Do not hang him, give him life imprisonment for this alone would serve as deterrent to others who may be planning to become 'fidayeens' (human bombs)," argued his lawyers. This prompted Justice Ranjana Desai to ask, "Do you think by giving him life sentence we would be able to prevent terrorist attacks in future. What message would you like to give to the society," she asked.

Arguments on confirmation of death sentence awarded to Kasab as well as his appeal against his conviction, concluded today. The high court will now hear both sides on the appeal filed the state against the acquittal of Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed on account of "doubtful" evidence. Nikam argued that Kasab had voluntarily joined LeT for committing terrorist acts in India. When the plan of attacks
was deferred by conspirators he became impatient and told them he wanted to strike terror.

Even at Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus, Kasab was in joyous mood after killing people. This was evident from the photographs taken by a journalist, Nikam said.

Kasab had told a magistrate while giving confession that he was voluntarily disclosing his role in the 26/11
attacks because he wanted to motivate other 'fidayeens' from committing similar terror acts, Nikam submitted.

 If death penalty has to be imposed on a convict, then the court should consider not only his actual age but also his mental age, Nikam said. "Kasab was not only sufficiently matured when he committed the crime but also was capable of understanding the consequences of the terror acts."

Nikam also said that public outcry must be considered in such cases while awarding sentence to a convict.

However, Kasab's lawyer Solkar disagreed with Nikam's argument saying the high court should not get swayed by thepublic sentiment and must weigh the case on merits. The sentence must be retributive and not deterrent, he argued. PTI