M A I N   N E W S

Kasab alleges torture, retracts confession
‘I was made to confess under duress’
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, April 17
The trial in the Mumbai terror attack case opened today with Mohammed Amir Ajmal Kasab seeking retraction of his confession which hinted at Pakistan army’s involvement in training him and the other terrorists, who were killed.

The trial commenced with the new defence lawyer SG Abbas Kazmi, appointed by the court after Anjali Waghmare was replaced, filing an application that Kasab wanted to retract his statement made before a Magistrate.

Kazmi told Judge ML Tahilyani that the accused was retracting his confession as it was taken under “duress” by the police.

The court, which is yet to give its ruling on the issue, however, rejected Kasab’s contention that he was a minor and not 21 as claimed by the prosecution and that he should be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Opening the case, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam alleged that Kasab, who was arrested on the night of November 26 last, and the killed terrorists had received military and intelligence training in Pakistan under a conspiracy hatched by Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan to ultimately capture Jammu and Kashmir.

Nikam did not name Pakistan army or ISI having trained the accused. But he repeatedly referred to Major General Sahab and Col R Saadat, who figured in Kasab’s confession as supervisory officers of the training imparted to the accused. Nikam based his submissions on the confession made by Kasab before a magistrate.

The confession was today opened in the court and Nikam read out some portions to point out that the perpetrators of the crime had been given precise military and intelligence training in Pakistan.

When it was read out to Kasab, he said he wanted to retract from it, saying it was taken by the police under duress.

Inside the court, Kasab appeared to be comfortable and was often seen smiling at his lawyer and reporters. However, after lunch recess, he became serious and attentive when prosecutor Nikam dwelt upon his alleged role in terror attack cases.

The judge warned Kasab not to talk to the other accused. Kasab, who was wearing a dark grey T-shirt with blue stripes and a black trouser, nodded his head and kept quiet.

Nikam, however, argued that Kasab was retracting his confession after two months. He denied the allegations that the confession was taken under duress and said it was recorded by a Magistrate who was an independent judicial officer.

In another development, Kasab said he was a juvenile (below the age of 18 years) and therefore the special court had no jurisdiction to try him. The Judge, however, rejected his plea after Nikam said jail records and confession of the accused indicated that his age was 21 years. — PTI



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