South Asia

Mumbai attacker seeks to appeal against death penalty

Mumbai gunman, identified as Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab
Image caption Qasab said he needs a lawyer to explain the verdict to him

The sole surviving gunman of the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks of November 2008 has requested legal representation to appeal against his death penalty.

Over 170 people died when militants including Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab attacked various targets.

His request to appeal against his conviction and sentence is under consideration and a new lawyer will be appointed within days, officials say.

Qasab was sentenced last month after he was found guilty of mass murder.

'Not satisfied'

He was also convicted of waging war against India. The Bombay High Court has yet to confirm the death sentence.

Ten gunmen attacked Mumbai on 26 November 2008 killing 166 people. All of them except Qasab were killed.

Qasab - a Pakistani national - has now written a one-page letter in Urdu requesting the state government to appoint a lawyer to act on his behalf.

The letter says he is not satisfied with the verdict and sentence and needs a lawyer to explain it in detail to him, officials say.

"We received the letter and have already forwarded it and presented his case. He wants to voice his grievances about some points which he thinks were not considered by the court," said KK Sonawane, from the Legal Aid Panel of the Bombay High Court.

Qasab also argued in the letter that he has no relatives in India who will take up his case, so he needs free legal aid.

During the trial Qasab was represented by two lawyers, one of whom was removed from the case for non-co-operation.

Since he was sentenced to death he has not had access to a lawyer.

Mr Sonawane said a lawyer may be appointed very soon and Qasab will decide with him how to go about filing his appeal.

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