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India court rejects Mumbai terror attack suspect's request for international trial

[JURIST] An Indian court on Monday rejected a request by suspected Mumbai terror attack [BBC Backgrounder; JURIST news archive] gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab [NDTV profile] to be tried in an international court. Kasab claimed he would not receive a fair trial in India and that police had falsely accused him of taking part in the 2008 terror attacks. Special Court Judge ML Tahaliyani denied [Times of India report] Kasab's request, calling it "premature." Kasab also requested that he be allowed to examine defense witnesses, including passport officers and government staff, from Pakistan and that he be allowed to meet with Pakistani officials. Tahaliyani told Kasab he should file a petition [AP report] through his lawyer. Kasab is facing 86 charges, including murder, for his role in the attacks and, if convicted, could receive the death penalty [JURIST report]. A verdict in the trial is expected sometime early this year.

Last month, Kasab withdrew his confession [JURIST report], claiming he was tortured and framed by police. Kasab originally pleaded not guilty last year, but interrupted his trial to confess and change his plea to guilty [JURIST reports] in July. Tahaliyani continued the trial [JURIST report] despite Kasab's confession, ruling that it was incomplete but should be entered into the record. Kasab claimed that he is not the man [Times of India report] seen in a photograph holding an assault rifle in the train station. Kasab testified that he had been arrested by police days before the attacks for being Pakistani and that police shot him to make it look like he had been injured during the attacks. He also claimed to have met David Headley, the Chicago man charged [JURIST report] in connection with the attacks, but only after the attacks when Headley allegedly came to question Kasab in the company of three FBI agents.

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