Mumbai suspect retracts confession, claims torture

The 21-year-old said he had come to Mumbai to work in films and was not involved in the shootings.

Mumbai suspect retracts confession, claims torture
A Pakistani man accused of being one of the 10 gunmen who attacked Mumbai last year retracted his earlier statement in court on Friday, saying he was tortured by the police to sign a confessional statement.

"He (Kasab) has told the court that he was arrested a few days ... before the attacks and kept in jail," public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told Reuters by telephone.

"I was not present at VT," said Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, referring to Victoria Terminus, the former name of Mumbai's main railway station, where he is accused of opening fire on November 26, killing 52 and injuring over 100.

"I do not know what has happened. Witnesses have come and recognised me because my face looks similar to the terrorists," he told the judge at the special prison court in Mumbai where he is on trial.

"That is why I was picked up. I have been framed," he said in Hindi.

Kasab is among 38 charged by India in the attacks. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

A total of 166 people, including 25 foreigners, were killed in the attacks and more than 300 injured. Nine of the gunmen also died.

Kasab, from Faridkot in the Pakistani Punjab, initially pleaded not guilty when the trial started in April, but in July made a shock confession admitting being one of the two gunmen who opened fire at the station.

The 21-year-old said he had come to Mumbai to work in films and was not involved in the shootings.

Kasab said he had been in Mumbai -- home of the Bollywood film industry -- 20 days before November 26 "to see cinema" and was picked up by police on a beach in the northern suburbs.

He was later forced to give a false confession while witnesses were told to identify him as one of the Mumbai attackers, he said.

"I have never seen or used an AK-47 in my life. I saw it for the first time with the police," he added.

Kasab on Friday also said that his initial recorded statement made soon after his arrest and apparently detailing his involvement was "wrong" and made under duress.

"I have never said anything of this sort. It has been forced out of me," he told the judge.



Agencies
Last Mod: 18 Aralık 2009, 12:12
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