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Mumbai attack gunman assaulted prison staff, court told

Surviving gunman from 2008 attacks assaults prison officers at high security Mumbai jail.

MUMBAI // The lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, who is being held on death row in India, assaulted prison officers earlier this month, a court heard on Tuesday. "The incident occurred on September 1 when Kasab was performing some illegal act and jail staff had to intervene," prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the Bombay High Court, referring to Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. "He assaulted prison officials."

Mr Nikam, who didn't elaborate on the nature of the illegal act, was arguing against a proposal from Kasab's defence lawyers for private consultations with their client at the high-security jail in Mumbai, where he is being held. Kasab's defence team, which is preparing his appeal, has complained that lawyer-client confidentiality would be breached if they weren't allowed to speak to him in private.

Mr Nikam, who submitted CCTV footage of the prison attack for the judges to consider, argued that 23-year-old Kasab was a danger to others and shouldn't be left alone. "Kasab is a trained commando and with swift movement he can pose a great danger to his own life as well as to that of guards," the lawyer said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. A prison officer said in an affidavit that Kasab was guarded around the clock and watched by CCTV because of his "dangerous nature and wild behavior".

A decision on whether to allow the lawyers to speak to Kasab within sight of security staff but not within earshot is expected on Wednesday, the court was told. Kasab was the only member of the 10-person commando unit who attacked Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people and injuring more than 300. He was convicted of "waging war against India," murder, conspiracy and terrorism offences in May and sentenced to death.

* AFP

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