Mumbai gunman given death penalty, to be hanged

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 gun attacks in Mumbai, India, has been sentenced to death by hanging, on 86 charges, including conspiracy, murder, terrorism, and waging war against India.

The sentence was handed down after being in the courts for over a year, and after a 90-minute sentencing hearing. Kasab can still appeal to the high Mumbai court, the Supreme Court, and the Indian president to have the sentence reversed.

"Today's sentencing sends the message that keeping Kasab alive would be a crime in itself," commented public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam outside the court after the sentence was made. "Terrorism and terrorists like Kasab cannot be tolerated. The death penalty is the only option."

The court rejected the defence lawyer's position, who said Kasab committed the attack under pressure from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based tribal group blamed for the attacks. Kasab is a Pakistani citizen.

At least 166 people in Mumbai were killed and 234 injured when several hotels, a rail station, and other locations were attacked by gunmen over a 60-hour period in November 2008.

However, according to media, people on death row frequently are not actually executed for years; the last available data from 2007 indicates 308 people are on death row, the Christian Science Monitor reports.