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26/11 trial: Pak court indicts seven suspects

October 11, 2009 15:55 IST
A Pakistani anti-terror court has formally indicted Lashkar-e-Tayiba's operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects arrested in connection with the Mumbai attacks and adjourned the case for a week.

Judge Baqir Ali Rana, conducting the trial behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, formally charged the suspects on Saturday after hearing arguments by prosecution and defence lawyers, sources told PTI.

Though, there was no official word on the proceedings due to a gag order imposed by the court.

The judge scheduled the next hearing for October 17. However, Khwaja Sultan, one of the four defence lawyers, raised objections about the manner in which the suspects were indicted.

Sultan told mediapersons that none of the lawyers were present in court at the time of the indictment. Sultan said the hearing was held at the same time when a group of terrorists attacked the Pakistan army's headquarters in Rawalpindi.

He quoted the judge as saying that since the situation outside the court was uncertain, those who wanted to leave the premises could do so. The lawyers left the court after completing their arguments and learnt later that their clients had been indicted, Sultan said. He said he would raise the matter with authorities.

Earlier, during the hearing that lasted about three hours, lawyers representing suspects told the court that the evidence against their clients was insufficient to indict them.

However, the prosecution said it had enough evidence against the suspects, including five members of the LeT, sources said. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik too told a news channel that the charges had been framed against the suspects. The trial is being conducted at Adiala Jail due to security concerns and the media has been barred from attending the proceedings.

The seven suspects Lakhvi, LeT communications expert Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

They have been accused of training and providing financial support, accommodation, equipment and communication gear to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November last year.

On October 5, Judge Rana rejected the bail application of Younas Anjum, a resident of Khaniwal in the southern Punjab. Anjum had claimed in his bail application that he was implicated in the Mumbai attacks case.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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