26/11 case: Pak court adjourns trial of suspects till April 16

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Islamabad, Apr 9: An anti-terrorism court today (Apr 9) adjourned the trial of LeT's Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks till April 16 after hearing arguments on an application filed by defence lawyers to expedite the proceedings.

The application, filed in Feb, seeks to counter the prosecution's efforts to make Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker involved in the 2008 Mumbai strikes, and terror suspect Fahim Ansari part of the trial in Pakistan. Both Kasab and Ansari are currently in custody in India.

During today's proceedings, Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed of the Rawalpindi-based court heard arguments by lawyers defending the seven suspects.

The judge is conducting the proceedings behind closed doors at the heavily-guarded Adiala Jail for security reasons.

Prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Zulfiqar, who appeared for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), sought an adjournment, saying another prosecutor, Chaudhry Azhar, would present arguments on the matter at the next hearing. The judge then adjourned the case till April 16.

The application filed by the defence lawyers has sought the start of trial proceedings as soon as possible and recording of evidence against the accused.

The application was filed under Section 403 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 13 of the Constitution, which state that no person can be prosecuted or punished for the same offence more than once, defence lawyer Shahbaz Rajput told PTI.

The defence lawyers argued that Kasab had already been convicted and sentenced to death by an Indian court for his role in the Mumbai attacks.

The same Indian court had acquitted Ansari, they have told the court. Despite the acquittal, Ansari continues to be in custody in connection with other cases. 


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