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Mumbai terror attacks trial suspended

  • Story Highlights
  • Main suspect's lawyer removed as she represents a witness in the case
  • Trial was to start Wednesday, unclear when court proceedings will resume
  • Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, is accused of being the only gunmen to survive siege
  • The November siege targeted victims at Mumbai hotels, hospitals, railway stations

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MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- The lawyer for the main suspect in last year's deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai was removed Wednesday, delaying the high-profile trial that was set to begin.

Soldiers patrol in Mumbai on the eve of the trial of a key suspect in last year's attacks in the Indian city.

Soldiers patrol in Mumbai on the eve of the trial of a key suspect in last year's attacks in the Indian city.

The trial start for Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, is expected to be moved to Thursday as officials scramble to settle the lawyer issue. Kasab is thought to be the only one of 10 gunmen to survive the three-day siege, which killed more than 160 people in November.

As the trial was to begin, the judge removed attorney Anjali Waghmare because she also was representing a witness in the case. Waghmare argued that she had no idea that the person was a witness in the terror case, and she was representing this person in a different case. But the judge declared that it was a conflict of interest.

An Indian court appointed Waghmare two weeks ago to represent Kasab, and it was unclear who would replace her.

Kasab demanded that his attorney be replaced with a Pakistani lawyer. But the judge denied that request and said that a Pakistani lawyer may be able to be brought in as a consultant from outside the courtroom.

Kasab, a Pakistani national, faces more than a dozen charges, including murder, conspiracy to wage a war against the nation and terrorism.

During the proceedings Wednesday Kasab seemed relaxed and smiled many time at the large crowd of journalists in the courtroom. Kasab also requested newspapers to be brought in so that he could see what the media was writing about him.

Prosecutors last month accused him of trying to delay the trial by insisting that the 11,000-page document detailing the charges against him -- which was written in English and the local Marathi language -- be translated into Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. The court rejected his request.

Wednesday's trial was to take place in a makeshift court set up in a jail where Kasab -- who has been communicating with the judge via videolink -- is being held.


Indian authorities have long blamed the Mumbai attacks on Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based militant outfit, but the group has denied responsibility. The violence initially heightened tensions between the two nuclear states.

India has urged Pakistan to destroy what it calls terrorist infrastructure in that country. The two nations are longtime rivals that have fought three wars since their independence from the British, and conducted countering nuclear weapons tests in 1998.

CNN's Sara Sidner contributed to this report.

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