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Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 15:45 UK

Surviving Mumbai gunman convicted over attacks

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The BBC's Delnaaz Irani reports from outside the court

A Pakistani national has been convicted over his role in the deadly 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks by an Indian court.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, 22, the sole surviving gunman, was found guilty on charges including murder, waging war on India and possessing explosives.

The attacks left 174 people - including nine gunmen - dead, and soured ties between India and Pakistan.

India's home minister said the verdict was a message to Pakistan that it should not "export terrorism to India".

AT THE SCENE
Prachi Pinglay
Prachi Pinglay
BBC News, Mumbai

As the judge read out his verdict, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab kept his head down. He did not say anything during the entire proceedings.

The courtroom was bristling with journalists. More than 100 reporters were present in the high-security facility, craning their necks to see how Qasab was reacting.

When the first indication came that Qasab was going to be found guilty, there was a gasp. There was an even bigger reaction when the judge acquitted the two Indians also charged alongside Qasab.

As he continued reading, people became restless and the judge had to exhort the room to keep calm. More comes tomorrow when the judge hears arguments about sentencing.


India blames Pakistan-based militants Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks.

After initial denials, Pakistan acknowledged that the attacks had been partially planned on its territory and that Qasab was one of its citizens.

Two Indian men - Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed - who were accused of helping the gunmen plan the attacks, were acquitted by the presiding judge at the court in Mumbai.

The judge will begin hearing arguments about sentencing on Tuesday. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty for Qasab.

Qasab's 271-day trial was conducted amid tight security in a purpose-built court on the jail premises in Mumbai where he was being held.

Closed-circuit TV evidence showed Kasab and an accomplice opening fire on passengers at one of Mumbai's busiest train stations, an assault that left dozens of people dead.

MOHAMMAD AJMAL AMIR QASAB
Pakistani citizen from Punjab province
Reports say he received little education, and spent his youth alternating between labouring and petty crime
India says he was trained for Mumbai operation by Lashkar-e-Taiba group in a remote camp
Captured on camera at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a slight figure in combat trousers and a sweatshirt, clutching an assault rifle
Prosecutors said he had confessed but his lawyers then said his statement had been coerced, and it was retracted

Over the past 14 months, the trial witnessed a number of twists and turns.

Qasab originally denied the charges against him but last July, in a dramatic outburst in court, he admitted his role and asked to be hanged. He later retracted this plea, saying he had been tortured by police into making it, and the trial continued.

In November, the main lawyer representing Qasab - who was arrested on the first day of the attacks - was removed from the case after the judge said he was delaying proceedings.

Late last year, Pakistan charged seven people in connection with the attacks, including the suspected mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who is alleged to head Lashkar-e-Taiba.



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