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Pakistan court rejects 2008 Mumbai attacks report

An anti-terrorism court judge in Pakistan ruled Tuesday that a report compiled by a nine-member judiciary committee, which includes statements of the witnesses in India, could not be used in cases related to the 2008 Mumai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] because defendants were denied their right to cross-examination. The anti-terrorist court held [Pakistan News report] that the denial of cross-examination by the commission was unlawful and the report could not be a part of the records for the case against the seven suspects charged with the 2008 attacks. It also stated that the visit of the judiciary committee was a waste of time and noted that if an agreement between Pakistan and India is reached, then the commission could travel to India to cross-examine the witnesses. The commission included prosecutors and defense lawyers who questioned a judge, a senior police officer and two doctors but were not allowed to cross-question eye witnesses. Indian authorities have argued that cross-examination was not a part of the agreement between the two nations. Among the accused is an alleged commander of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder].

The perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks killed 166 people. Pakistan and India are currently hearing cases against them in their own courts. Last month, India's Foreign Minister SM Krishna [official profile] announced [JURIST report] that the New Delhi police have arrested a key suspect in the 2008 attacks. Abu Hamza, an alleged member of LeT, is believed [Reuters report] to be a previously unidentified man who was talking on the phone from Pakistan to militants involved in the 2008 attacks. His voice was recorded when he was talking to the gunmen who attacked a Jewish center in south Mumbai during the attacks. Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], a Pakistani gunman who was captured, convicted and sentenced [JURIST reports] to death told investigators that an Indian man had taught the perpetrators Hindi and the layout of streets in Mumbai. Police and other officials did not further comment on how they will proceed against Hamza. In February a New Delhi court confirmed charges [JURIST report] against US citizens and a Canadian citizen who have been accused of being involved in the 2008 attacks. The Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) [official website] had accused the LeT and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) [SATP backgrounder] of using David Headley for gathering information on potential Indian terror attack sites.

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