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26/11 case: UK victim doesn't favour death penalty for Kasab

world Updated: May 08, 2010 15:04 IST

A British politician, who narrowly escaped death during the Mumbai attacks, has supported the guilty verdict against Ajmal Kasab but is not in favour of capital punishment, which has been handed down to the Pakistani terrorist by an Indian court.

Sajjad Karim, who is a Member of European Parliament (MEP), said he was still haunted by the events of November 2008, when he was among a few who managed to escape a hail of bullets in the Taj hotel in Mumbai.

Karim said: "I believe he (Kasab) had a fair and transparent trial and I support the guilty verdict. But I am not a supporter of capital punishment."

He said he was in favour of life sentence for Kasab, "but that life should mean life".

Karim said that despite trying to forget about the events, the memories keep whirling round his head.

He told newsmen in Manchester: "The question that keeps going round my mind is why? Why did such young men become so devoid of humanity that they did this".

"I was standing in the hotel with one of the gunmen in front of me. He must have only been in his early twenties, yet as people were laying dead around him, he just kept on shooting."

Karim, 39, had checked into the hotel just hours before the terrorists opened fire at a number of locations popular with tourists in Mumbai. He was part of a seven-strong Euro trade delegation visiting Mumbai for talks.

Yet as he strolled through the lobby of hotel, two gunmen burst in and opened fire, shooting indiscriminately.

Karim ran to one side of the lobby, but was met by another killer who he remembers having a 'smirk' on his face before unleashing a hail of bullets.

He managed to escape by barricading himself in the hotel's kitchen along with six other guests.

After a tense six-hour wait they were rescued by the Indian security services.

Kasab was sentenced to death on May 6 for the Mumbai terror attacks by a special court, which held that keeping him alive will be a "lingering danger" to society from a person who has no chance of reform.