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Mumbai attacks verdict due today

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MUMBAI: Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone surviving Mumbai attacker, facing the death penalty if convicted of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks will today learn his fate, as the court reconvenes for the judge to deliver his verdict.

Ajmal Kasab, 22, is facing a string of charges, including “waging war against India” and murder, in connection with the bloody, three-day siege that left 166 people dead and more than 300 others wounded.

Judge M.L. Tahaliyani has spent more than a month considering the evidence.

Before retiring on March 31, he told the court: “May 3 will be the day of judgment.” Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told AFP last week that he was “100 percent” expecting a result on Monday.

The end of the trial is a significant step towards the rehabilitation of India’s financial and entertainment capital.

The prosecution believes it has “overwhelming” evidence of Kasab’s involvement in the attacks, including DNA and fingerprints, security camera footage and photographs of him carrying an AK-47 assault rifle.

Kasab initially denied the charges, then pleaded guilty, before reverting to his original stance and claiming that he was set up by the police.

Two Indian nationals are also standing trial. Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed are both accused of providing logistical support to the gunmen by supplying them with handwritten maps of the city.

Judge Tahaliyani refused to allow an application for US-Pakistani national David Coleman Headley, who admitted scouting out targets for the attacks, to give evidence.

Thirty-five people are named in court papers as co-conspirators, including LeT founder Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, key operative Zarar Shah and Hafiz Saeed.

Lahkvhi and Shah are among seven suspects currently on trial in Rawalpindi.

Kasab, arrested in a stolen car after a shoot-out at a police roadblock, was the only suspected gunman caught alive. The others were killed by Indian security forces.

They were secretly buried earlier this year after a long-running row about how to dispose of the bodies.

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