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Mumbai terror attack suspect stops trial to plead guilty

[JURIST] Mumbai terror attack [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] suspect Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab interrupted his trial in India Monday to confess and plead guilty to 86 charges stemming from his participation in last November's killings. Kasab, the only captured gunman from the attacks, told the court that he and several others traveled from their native Pakistan to India to commit the attack, which claimed at least 170 lives at ten locations across the city. When he was originally formally charged [BBC report] at a special court in Mumbai, he denied any involvement [JURIST report] in the attacks. The court must now verify that Kasab's confession was voluntary, and may then sentence him [IANS report] for his alleged crimes.

On Saturday, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court began the trial [JURIST report] of five men allegedly belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] militant group suspected of planning and coordinating the terror attacks. Two Indian defendants linked to the group have pleaded not guilty [AFP report] to charges related to Kasab's alleged acts and are being tried in an Indian court. In February, Pakistani officials conceded [JURIST report] that the attacks were partially planned in their country, and have also stated that the perpetrators traveled by ship [NYT report] from southern Pakistan to Mumbai, where they launched the attack from inflatable boats using outboard engines purchased in Karachi, Pakistan. One scholar suggested that an international tribunal be formed [JURIST op-ed] to prosecute persons involved in Mumbai attacks in order to avoid damaging the already-unstable relationship between Pakistan and India.

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