India judge removes Mumbai terror attack defense lawyer

India judge removes Mumbai terror attack defense lawyer

[JURIST] A judge in India [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday removed the defense lawyer from the trial of an accused gunman in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], citing a conflict of interest. Judge M.L. Tahiliyani said Anjali Waghmare [Sindh Today profile] could not represent Ajmal Kasab in the special court trial because she had agreed to represent a victim [Times of India report] of the attacks in a civil case. Waghmare denied [Telegraph report] any "professional misconduct," saying that she had met with a victim but had not committed to representing him. Kasab, who faces 12 charges including murder and waging war against India, asked for a lawyer from his native Pakistan. Tahiliyana said Kasab's new lawyer must be from India, but that the Pakistani government could help make the selection.

Kasab first appeared before Tahiliyani last month via video. In February, Pakistan 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.