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Mumbai attacks witness cross-examined

Cross-examination of the Pakistani-based businessman responsible for selling the boat engine used by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR backgrounder] terrorists in the 2008 Mumbai attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] was held on Wednesday before Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Court. The merchant, Mohammed Ali, sold the boat engine to the 10 LeT terrorists, which then allowed the clandestine group to reach the shores of Mumbai and eventually carry out the killing of over 160 people in November 2008. The court expected to resume trial [Daily News & Analysis report] of seven other suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who are being charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks.

In January Judge Harry Leinenweber of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] issued a 35-year prison sentence [JURIST report] to David Coleman Headley for his role in the attacks. Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani descent, facilitated the attack by conducting scouting missions in Mumbai for the LeT. Last November India executed the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab [WSJ backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. On the day before Kasab's execution the Indian Supreme Court criticized the application of the "rarest of rare" standard [judgement, PDF], which provides that the death penalty should be imposed only when the offense is "of an exceptionally depraved and heinous character and constitutes, on account of its design and and the manner of its execution, a source of grave danger to the society at large." Nonetheless, the Indian Supreme Court upheld Kasab's sentence [JURIST report]. In 2009 Pakistan charged [JURIST report] seven men accused of plotting the attack under Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act [text].

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