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Pakistan places leader of 2008 Mumbai attacks under house arrest

[JURIST] Pakistani authorities on Monday placed militant leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed under house arrest for his connection to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) [CFR profile] and the charity known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa [BBC profile]. Saeed has been accused of orchestrating the infamous Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 [CNN backgrounder]. Though the US has set [NYT report] a $10 million reward for help with his arrest and conviction, Saeed has been living openly in Pakistan since the attacks. While having undergone house arrests before, he has been successful in avoiding detention or legal charges and has continued to deny his connection to the LeT. Despite pressures from the US and India, Pakistan has consistently avoided taking actions against Saeed due to a lack of evidence regarding his role in the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan moved forward with Monday's house arrest after the Obama administration reportedly threatened the country with sanctions and penalties. Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday regarding how the country will address Saeed's charity, which has been accused of establishing an independent judiciary system [JURIST report] and serving as a front for the LeT.

Mumbai has suffered a number of terrorist attacks allegedly linked to the LeT in recent years, leading the government to consider controversial terrorism laws and to institute special courts [JURIST reports] to try suspects. A Pakistani antiterrorism court is currently trying six suspects allegedly connected to the 2008 attacks. Cross-examination [JURIST report] of the Pakistani-based businessman responsible for selling the boat engine used by the LeT in the attacks began in November 2013. The year prior, India executed the sole surviving gunman from the attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab [WSJ backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In August 2009 India sentenced three terrorists to death for their part in similar attacks in 2003 [JURIST report]. In July of that year India announced that it would continue the trial [JURIST report] of a man suspected in a 2008 hotel attack that killed more than 100 people, despite his mid-trial confession [JURIST report].

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