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CONVICTED MUMBAI GUNMAN DUE FOR SENTENCING

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A court in India is due to hear arguments about the sentencing of a Pakistani national convicted over his role in the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, 22, the sole surviving gunman, has been 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.

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty for Qasab.

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.

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Prosecutors said he had confessed but his lawyers then said his statement had been coerced, and it was retracted

Deadlock over attack 'masterminds'
Profile of Ajmal Amir Qasab
Over the past 14 months, the trial witnessed a number of twists and turns.

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

The Indian media hailed Monday's verdict as “honourable”, and said the acquittal of of the two Indian men proved that the police had made a “poor case” of it.

The Hindu newspaper said that the judgement will “not grant closure” to the surviving victims of the attacks and to the families of the victims.

“This is because key conspirators, helped by a half-hearted investigation in Pakistan, are yet to face a court of law,” the newspaper said.

The paper said the verdict was a “tribute to the independence of the Indian judicial system and its ability to deliver justice dispassionately.”

The Times of India said that the verdict is “unlikely to the be the end of the matter”.

The newspaper said that the prosecutor had already stated that that the acquittal of the two Indian men would be challenged, while Qasab's lawyer could contest his client's conviction.

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.