Ajmal alive to guilty plea implications: Sessions CourtJul 23rd, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Featured Articles
Mumbai: Special Sessions Court judge M.L. Tahaliyani on Wednesday refuted Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam’s contention that the guilty plea of Mumbai gunman Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ was a shrewd move to escape the death penalty.
The court noted: “It is clear that he [Ajmal] has understood the implications of his plea and has done it voluntarily without any extraneous reasons and that the court took all the precautions to ensure against pressure.”
Defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi argued that while no pressure was at play, the circumstances leading to the admission were suspect. Alleging mental torture, he said the lone surviving gunman of 26/11 had told him about the psychological pressure from prison guards. “The guards told [Ajmal], ‘You have no chance to escape. The prosecution is on our side, the jail is ours, even the lawyer appointed for you is ours’,” Mr. Kazmi told the court.
However, when the court asked Ajmal about this, he said this torture was not recent; it was at the remand stage when he was in police custody.
Mr. Nikam highlighted the contradictions in Ajmal’s confession statement recorded before a magistrate on December 17, 2008 and his statement made before this court on Monday.
Based on Ajmal’s opposing claims, the Special Public Prosecutor argued that his plea be either “acted upon” or kept on record as a statement for use at “an appropriate stage.”
“This case has international ramifications. Foreign experts have collected clinching evidence. We have to establish the criminal conspiracy. This angle has been [omitted] by Ajmal,” Mr. Nikam told the court.
Later, he told journalists that the prosecution would not be content with securing conviction for Ajmal. “We want to expose the terror network. We are keen to prove why Mumbai was chosen as a target and why foreign nationals were killed.”