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Terrorism suspect gets new lawyer

THE judge presiding over the first trial in the Mumbai terrorist attacks assigned the Pakistani defendant a new lawyer yesterday - a day after the trial was abruptly adjourned and the man's attorney dismissed for a conflict of interest.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab is charged with 12 criminal counts, including 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.

Judge M. L. Tahiliyani told Kasab - who faces the death penalty if convicted - that Pakistani authorities had not responded to his request for a defense lawyer from his homeland and he would be assigned another Indian lawyer.

The judge on Wednesday dismissed Kasab's legal aid lawyer after she failed to disclose that she had agreed to represent a victim, who is also a witness against Kasab, in a compensation claim case.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said he expected the trial to formally start today.

The trial had already been pushed back nine days, as police scrambled to put the finishing touches on a special bombproof courtroom in the central Mumbai jail where Kasab is being held.


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