Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab “shall be hanged by neck till he is dead.”
Pronouncing these words, the Special Sessions Court here on Thursday sentenced to death the lone surviving gunman of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Kasab was given the death penalty on five counts: murder, abetment to murder, waging war, criminal conspiracy and committing terrorist acts.
He was also awarded life imprisonment on five counts: attempt to murder in furtherance of a common intention, kidnapping and abducting in order to murder, conspiracy to wage war, collecting arms with the intention of waging war and causing explosion thus endangering life and property.
‘Aapko char offences ke liye sazaye maut di jaati hai. [You have been sentenced to death for four offences],' Judge M.L. Tahaliyani told Kasab after he read out the order.
“You have been given the death penalty for murdering Indian citizens, police officers, conspiring with Lashkar leaders and committing terrorist acts. The court has said while giving the judgment that you shall be hanged unto death,” Mr. Tahaliyani told Kasab. While the sentence was being read out, Kasab sat still, his face sunk deep in the cup of his palm. He listlessly waved when asked by the court to give an opinion on his sentencing. Anxiety drew him to ask for water and he had to be taken out of court. “Shukriya saab [Thank you, sir],” was all the 26/11 convict could say on his way out of the courtroom.
The court wholly accepted the prosecution's arguments for awarding the death sentence, noting that the “aggravating circumstances” fully outweighed the “mitigating circumstances.” It found that the defence could not make out a case for the lesser punishment of life.
“In my opinion, the circumstances demand that death penalty be imposed in this case. The court has no option but to impose death sentence. This man has lost the right of getting humanitarian treatment,” the court observed.
The court also referred to the Kandahar hijack incident triggered by the presence of the accused in the custody of the Government of India. Mr. Tahaliyani noted, “By keeping such a person alive there would always be a danger hanging over the government. He is a constant danger. He is a menace to society. He has no right to live.”
The Indian Penal Code Sections under which Kasab has been given death penalty are: 302 (murder), 302 read with 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war), 302 read with 34 (common intention) and 302 read with 109 (abetment) read with 120 B.
In addition, he has been given death for the offence punishable under Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. For the other offences, he was awarded rigorous imprisonment, simple imprisonment and imposed with fines.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters that a confirmation of the death penalty from the Bombay High Court was awaited. Kasab would continue to be housed at the high security Arthur Road jail till further orders by the government.