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Pakistan court releases leader of group suspected in Mumbai terror attack

[JURIST] A Pakistani court on Tuesday ended the house arrest of the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder], the Pakistani militant group suspected of carrying out the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The Lahore High Court said that there was insufficient evidence linking Hafiz Muhammad Saeed [Global Jihad backgrounder] or his charity group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), to the attacks by 10 gunmen on India's financial center. Pakistan and others have accused [DOS backgrounder, PDF] JuD of being a front organization for LeT, although Saeed maintains [Guardian report] that JuD is purely a social welfare group. Both groups have been listed as terrorist organizations by the US Department of State [DOS list] and the UN [Resolution 1267 list]. Spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs [official website] Vishnu Prakash expressed India's dissappointment [India Today report] with the ruling, saying that the release did not reflect favorably on Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorist groups.

Last month, Pakistani citizen Mohammed Ajmal Kasab pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to involvement with the Mumbai attacks. Two Indian defendants linked to LeT also pleaded not guilty [AFP report] to conspiracy charges related to the charges against Kasab. In February, Pakistani officials conceded [JURIST report] that the attacks were partially planned in their country. Pakistan also stated that the perpetrators traveled by ship [NYT report] from southern Pakistan to Mumbai, where they launched the attack from inflatable boats using outboard engines purchased in Karachi, Pakistan. One scholar suggested that an international tribunal be formed [JURIST op-ed] to prosecute persons involved in Mumbai attacks in order to avoid further complications to the already unstable relationship between Pakistan and India. The attacks in Mumbai, which claimed at least 170 lives, were carried out at ten locations across the city including the landmark Taj Mahal Palace hotel.

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