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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 12:43 UK

Mumbai suspect 'needs fresh air'

Mumbai gunman, identified as Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasab
Ajmal Amir Qasab is alleged to have opened fire on commuters

The leading suspect in last November's deadly attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) needs exercise outside his cell, the trial court has heard.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab's lawyer listed other demands for his client such as toothpaste and Urdu newspapers as well as, bizarrely, perfume.

He said his client needed to walk about outside his cell to get "fresh air". He is charged with waging war on India.

More than 170 people, including nine gunmen, were killed in the attacks.

He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Mr Qasab was arrested on the first day of the attacks and has been in custody ever since.

He is lodged in the high-security Arthur Road prison in Mumbai and a special court has been constructed in the jail for his trial.

A huge security operation has been launched for the trial involving hundreds of armed police and soldiers.

'Confined'

Abbas Kazmi, the main defence lawyer, told the BBC his client "is feeling confined to the barracks so he wants some fresh air".

Judge ML Tahiliyani said he would speak to the jail authorities and decide on the demands.

MAIN QASAB CHARGES
Murder, waging war on India
Firing at CST train station
Firing inside and outside Cama Hospital
Hijacking of Skoda vehicle
Murder of MV Kuber boatman
Firing at Girgaum Chowpatty beach

The next hearing is set for 2 May. On Tuesday, a team of four doctors who examined the accused told the court that he was over 20 years of age.

The court had ordered bone and dental tests on Mr Qasab after his lawyers said he was a minor and hence should face trial in a juvenile court.

Earlier, Mr Kazmi also retracted a confession his client made in front of a magistrate in February, saying it was extracted through coercion and force.

It will be up to the judge to weigh the evidence at the trial and decide whether the confession should be taken into account.

The prosecution had read out parts of his confession as the trial began and accused him of killing 166 people.

India has accused Pakistan-based fighters from Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the attacks. Pakistan has admitted they were partly planned on its soil.

Two Indians, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, are also on trial, accused of being members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and of scouting for the attacks.



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