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Home» Opinion» World» Some americans want kasab type justice in us for 9 11 mastermind

Some Americans want Kasab-type justice in US for 9/11 mastermind

Mayank Chhaya | November 24, 2012, 03:41 PM IST
some americans want kasab type justice in us for 9 11 mastermind

Chicago : The relatively expeditious trial, conviction and hanging of Ajmal Kasab by India have found some resonance among some people here in the US. These are the people who have been waiting to see what fate awaits Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US.
 

Some of the comments on American news sites that carried news agency stories about the 25-year-old Pakistani terrorist’s execution roundly approved his hanging.

 

Kasab was hanged barely two years after being sentenced in 2010 in a country where wheels of justice churn slowly, it is said. In contrast, Mohammed has been under military detention at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba since his capture in 2003. After years of uncertainty over whether to try him and others in a civilian court in America and thereby afford them all the legal rights due to anyone involved in crime, Mohammed is now being tried in a military court. The US government is seeking death penalty for him.


Kasab’s hanging was followed with limited interest in America by the legal community as he remains an unknown figure among Americans generally. But some of the comments on American news sites that carried news agency stories about the 25-year-old Pakistani terrorist’s execution roundly approved his hanging. Many of the readers suggested that America should learn from that action while dealing with Mohammed.

There are those who have also noted that Kasab was treated with due process of law and given a fair trial despite the fact his murderous assault on unarmed people at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was recorded by close circuit TV and in news photographs. He was also allowed to make a mercy petition to the president of India.  Although India’s justice system is not often applauded in this part of the world, in this particular case most believe that justice was not only done but it was also it was seen to have been done.

While the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks were seen here as a distant, albeit horrific, event, it did have a specific Chicago connection. It related to the arrest, trial and conviction of David Coleman Headley, formerly Daood Gilani, a key plotter of those attacks. Headley, son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, is awaiting formal sentencing after he pleaded guilty on March 18, 2010 to a dozen federal terrorism charges. One of these charges was that he participated in the planning of the Mumbai attacks. It was Headley’s detailed reconnaissance of Mumbai sites on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba that helped Kasab and nine of his fellow attackers navigate through South Mumbai despite the fact that they were completely unfamiliar with the metropolis.


It was Headley’s detailed description of Mumbai sites on behalf of LeT that helped Kasab and nine others navigate through South Mumbai, despite being completely unfamiliar with the city.

 
It was widely noticed by people in India, for instance, that Kasab along with the nine others wore red threads on their right wrists. Those threads were obtained by Headley from the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai with the idea that they would make the terrorists appear to be local Hindu residents.


Interestingly, during his trial in 2009 Kasab had startled many in India and America when he claimed that Headley was among a team of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents who interrogated him.  It was baffling for the authorities here how Kasab, who was then incarcerated in a maximum security prison, would have known about Headley by name. Equally intriguing was what persuaded him to surmise that introducing Headley's name at that stage of the case would create a great deal of confusion.

Interestingly, during his trial in 2009 Kasab had startled many in India and America when he claimed that Headley was among a team of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents who interrogated him.

 

Of course, Kasab’s claim prompted nothing more than amused disbelief among investigators and prosecutors in Chicago involved in the Headley case. His assertion was one of the more interesting twists in the case which had no bearing on his eventual conviction and sentencing.


In the final analysis, Kasab’s execution will be nothing more than a curiosity in the larger issue of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s military trial and how it set off a huge political and legal debate in America whether he and others like him deserve to be tried in a civilian court or treated as enemy combatants and are subject to military justice.

India faced no such dilemma as Kasab and his nine fellow terrorists entered the country illegally and carried out mass murder in full media glare.

PSP/AB

Mayank Chhaya

Mayank Chhaya

(Mayank Chhaya is a Chicago based journalist and commentator on South Asian affairs. He is also a fulltime writer)

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