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Hanging Kasab will make him a martyr

Life sentence more degrading, and sends message about committing terror acts, lawyers say

Gulf News

Mumbai: Lone captured gunman Ajmal Kasab should not be condemned to death as a life sentence would be far more degrading for him.

It would also send a message to terrorists that there is no "martyrdom" in terror acts, his lawyers said yesterday.

This was their submission made to Justices Ranjana Desai and R.V. More of the Bombay High Court by court-appointed lawyers Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah on Tuesday, when the court heard their arguments on the confirmation of the death penalty.

"Kasab should rot in a jail for life, a condition that would be degrading for him and also send across a message that there is no "jannat" [heaven] for terrorists," Solkar argued.

"This is an organised, vilified terrorist act and has nothing to do with local criminal acts. These men were trained and intended to die. If the death sentence is passed, it would fulfil his ideology and belief." He referred to Kasab's confession in which he had mentioned that four of the trained persons were sent to Kashmir where they "attained martyrdom."

Interrupting Solkar, Desai said, "We don't understand this logic at all. Here is a man who in order to attain martyrdom took the lives of innocent people, women and children at the CST railway station."

The defence lawyer argued that Kasab and others "were brainwashed and told they were dying for a cause. Even the transcripts of the communication with their handlers in Pakistan reveal how the gunmen were told to be ready to die as they were going to ‘jannat'."

Kasab has been "synchronised" and has no sense of understanding or taking decisions. However, Desai wondered why he could not understand as he's capable of retracting his statements "by giving another story.

Moreover, when he and others landed here, they knew Mumbai better than many of us. This is not the behaviour of a man who does not know anything."

While the defence arguments will be considered, the judges rejected one of their two applications that stated Kasab was a minor at the time of the attacks.

The arguments on the second application asking the court to send him to a medical board for an evaluation of his mental state, motivation and psychological profile, and a home study will be heard on Wednesday.