Age tests ordered for suspect in Mumbai attacks
By Rajesh Shah
MUMBAI, India — An Indian court on Friday ordered the only surviving suspected gunman in the Mumbai attacks to undergo medical tests to determine his age after he claimed to have been a minor at the time of the assault, which would allow him to escape the death penalty.
Judge M.L. Tahiliyani said a radiologist and a forensic dentist would examine Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani who has been charged with murder and waging war against India.
Prosecutors say Kasab and nine other gunmen, who were killed during the siege, are responsible for the deaths of 166 people and the injury of 304 more during the three-day siege in November.
Ahead of his trial that began last week, Kasab’s lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, said his client was 17 at the time of the attacks and should be tried by a juvenile court.
Kasab would face a maximum of three years in prison if convicted as a minor, but could face the death penalty if convicted as an adult.
Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said Kasab had given his age as 21 in his confession and when he was hospitalized for injuries received during the attacks.
Last week, Kazmi asked the court to disregard Kasab’s confession, saying it had been made under duress.
The judge ordered the tests to be completed by Tuesday. The trial is to resume May 2.