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Indian court upholds death sentence for Mumbai gunman

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
In this picture taken on November 27, 2008, flames rush out of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, during the attack in Mumbai.
In this picture taken on November 27, 2008, flames rush out of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, during the attack in Mumbai.
  • Kasab was sentenced to death last year on murder and other charges
  • He has 30 days to appeal the High Court's ruling to the Supreme Court
  • He is the only man convicted in the November 2008 attacks
  • More than 160 people were killed during the three-day siege
  • Al Qaeda
  • India
  • Mumbai

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- The Mumbai High Court rejected the appeal Monday of the only surviving gunman from the 2008 three-day terror attack on the Indian financial capital.

A trial court handed down a death sentence last year for Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani, on charges of murder, conspiracy and waging war on India.

The city's High Court upheld his conviction and sentence, lawyer Ejaz Naqvi told reporters.

The court, however, dismissed the prosecution's appeal against the acquittal of two Indian nationals that police had accused of conspiracy in connection with the November 2008 strikes on Mumbai, said Naqvi, who represented one of them.

The high court upheld the acquittal Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed for a lack of "corroborative" evidence, said public prosecutor Ujjwal Nika. He said authorities would petition the Supreme Court next.

It was not immediately clear if Kasab too planned to file a fresh appeal to the country's highest court in New Delhi.

Convicts on death-row in India reserve the right to challenge the sentencing in the nation's Supreme Court. They can also file a mercy petition with the country's president if the Supreme Court also turns down their plea.

Kasab's lawyer, Farhana Shah, told reporters that her client would be briefed about options available to him.

It will then be up to Kasab to make a decision about an appeal, she said.

He would have 30 days to file his appeal, Shah said.

During the raids, 10 men attacked buildings including the luxury Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the city's Victoria Terminus train station, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House. More than 160 people died in the three-day coordinated attack.

Kasab was photographed holding an assault weapon during the attacks.

Indian forces killed nine suspects in the attack. Their bodies were embalmed and kept in a hospital morgue as some local Muslim groups refused them a burial in their graveyards, saying the attackers were not true followers of Islam.

An Indian official in Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, said a burial took place in January last year. He did not give the date or the exact location of what he described as a secret funeral.

India blamed the attacks on the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based terror group allied with al Qaeda.

Authorities said Kasab was trained by the organization, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 after an attack on India's parliament. The group denied responsibility.

The Mumbai attack derailed a fragile peace process between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan for about 15 months.

This year, the two nuclear-capable nations announced resumption of their fully-fledged dialogue after a series of high-level meetings over the past one year.