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Pakistan to begin trial of 5 Mumbai terror attack suspects

[JURIST] Pakistan has completed its probe into in last November's terror attacks in Mumbai [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and will likely begin trying next week five men arrested in connection with the attacks, Pakistan's Minister of the Interior Rehman Malik [official profile] announced Saturday. Malik named [IANS report] Zaki-ur-Rahman Lahkvi [Global Jihad profile], one of the men to stand trial, as the commander in the attacks. Lahkvi is the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder], the group suspected of planning and coordinating the attacks. Malik praised Pakistani investigators [APP report] for the speed with which they conducted the investigation. India has accused Pakistan of proceeding too slowly in its investigation, but Malik asserted that if either country was acting too slowly it was India. Thirteen other men were announced as proclaimed offenders by Malik for their roles in the terror attacks, and Malik urged Pakistanis to help find these men so they could be tried.

In June, India issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for Lahkvi, but Pakistan announced it would not hand over [IANS report] any of its citizens and would try them in Pakistan. In May, Pakistani citizen Mohammed Ajmal Kasab pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to involvement with the Mumbai attacks. Two Indian defendants linked to LeT also pleaded not guilty [AFP report] to conspiracy charges related to the charges against Kasab. In February, Pakistani officials conceded [JURIST report] that the attacks were partially planned in their country. Pakistan 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 further complications to the already unstable relationship between Pakistan and India. The attacks in Mumbai, which claimed at least 170 lives, were carried out at ten locations across the city including the landmark Taj Mahal Palace hotel.

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