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"Hang me, please," Mumbai terrorist attack suspect tells court - Printable Version

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"Hang me, please," Mumbai terrorist attack suspect tells court - Mr.Bhat - 07-22-2009

The lone Pakistani gunman captured during the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November told an Indian court Wednesday that he was ready to be hanged and had not confessed to his role in the attack to escape a death penalty.

"Hang me, please, for my crimes," Ajmal Amir Kasab pleaded before the special court two days after he admitted he was a Pakistani and gave chilling details of the events that led to the death of 166 people in the Indian financial hub over three days of mayhem in November, IANS news agency reported.

Kasab's outburst came after the prosecution argued that he had made his confession to prove that he was a "pawn" in the hands of other masterminds.

Public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam maintained the trial should go on though Kasab had pleaded guilty.

Kasab faces more than 80 charges ranging from waging war on India to murder, kidnap, robbery and destabilizing the government.

In May, Kasab pleaded not guilty to all charges but in a surprising turn on Monday confessed, taking everyone including his own lawyers by surprise.

Special court judge ML Tahiliyani has to decide whether to accept Kasab's confession in court.

If he does accept it, legal experts say the trial could see a quick end with Kasab facing a maximum penalty of death.

The trial began on April 15 in the heavily-guarded Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, where Kasab has been kept in solitary confinement.

If Kasab's confession holds up in court, it could strengthen India's claim that terrorist groups in Pakistan had carried out the attack which strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

India, which halted its peace talks with Pakistan after the Mumbai attack, has repeatedly demanded that Pakistan take action against the perpetrators.

Indian police have filed an 11,000-page charge sheet against 38 people including Kasab.

The charges allege key planners of the assaults included Pakistan-based LeT leaders Hafeez Sayyid, Fahim Ansari, Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah all of whom have been listed as "wanted absconders."(dpa)