Court rejects alleged Mumbai gunman’s translation plea

Television crews set up outside Mumbai's Metropolitan Magistrate court where Kasab was charged.
An Indian court Monday rejected a plea by the alleged Mumbai attacker who asked for an Urdu translation of the 11,000-page document detailing the charges against him, public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told CNN.

The court turned down Mohammad Ajmal Kasab’s request after the prosecution argued that the court was not legally obligated to translate the charge sheet into the language of an accused person, Nikam said. Kasab, 21, is accused of being the only one of 10 gunmen to survive the siege on Mumbai in late November, which left more than 160 people dead. The Pakistani national faces more than a dozen charges, including murder, conspiracy to wage a war against the nation, and terrorism. The prosecution accused him of trying to delay the trial by insisting that the massive document — which was written in English and the local Marathi language — be translated into Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. Kasab appeared before the court through a videolink from a city jail. His co-accused Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, both Indians, also made the same requests, which too were rejected, according to Nikam. Their lawyers can explain the charges to them, said the public prosecutor. Ansari and Ahmed have been charged with helping to plan the Mumbai attacks. While Ansari and Ahmed have engaged lawyers, Kasab is still without a counsel. But Nikam said he too can get a court-appointed lawyer.

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The case will be heard by a higher court on March 23, Nikam added. The prosecutor has previously said he hopes to finish the trial for Kasab in three to six months. Indian authorities blame militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyiba for the attacks, but the group has denied responsibility.