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Prosecutors seek death sentence in Kasab trial
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Prosecutors asked a Mumbai court on Tuesday to sentence to death a Pakistani man found guilty over the 2008 Mumbai attacks after a trial India said sent a message to its rival neighbour Pakistan not to "export terrorism".
Mohammad Ajmal Kasab was the only gunman captured alive in the three-day rampage through Mumbai in November 2008 that killed 166 people at key landmarks, including two luxury hotels, the main train station and a Jewish centre.
"The manner of causing death showed total depravity. This is not an ordinary criminal. He would be a danger to society if he is allowed to live," government prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court before judge M.L. Tahilyani.
Kasab, 22, sat silently with his head bent. His lawyer K.P. Pawar argued for a sentence of life in jail, saying Kasab was too young and had been under extreme mental and emotional stress.
The Mumbai court will deliver a sentence on Thursday. It found Kasab guilty on Monday on 86 charges, including murder and waging war on India.
Indian law permits death for the "rarest of rare" crimes but such a sentence must be confirmed by a higher court. Kasab can appeal against the judgment in superior courts before moving a mercy petition to the president, a process that can take years.
The verdict against Kasab came days after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan met in Bhutan and asked officials to take steps to normalise relations between the nuclear-armed countries, signalling a thaw in ties that had been ruptured by the attack.
New Delhi broke off peace talks with Pakistan after the attack, saying Islamabad had first to act against militants operating from its soil, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba of which Kasab is accused of being a member.
"The judgment itself is a message to Pakistan that they should not export terrorism to India," Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters on Monday.
Kasab was filmed walking through Mumbai's main train station carrying an AK-47 rifle and a knapsack on his back. Nearly 60 people were gunned down in the crowded station.
He was one of 10 gunmen who carried out the attacks in Mumbai. All were believed to have received training in Pakistan before travelling to Mumbai by sea. (Writing by C.J. Kuncheria; Editing by Paul de Bendern and Paul Tait)
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