India’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman of the 2008 attacks on Mumbai.
The judges also rejected his claim that he had been denied a fair trial.
Mohammad Qasab, 24, was convicted of murder and other crimes in May 2010. His first appeal was rejected by the Mumbai High Court in February 2011.
The November 2008 attacks claimed 166 lives. Nine gunmen were also killed.
“In view of the nature of the gravity of his crime and the fact that he participated in waging war against the country, we have no option but to uphold his death penalty,” Supreme Court Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad ruled.
Legal experts say it could still be months or even years before Mohammad Qasab’s sentence can be carried out.
India's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman of the 2008 attacks on Mumbai
He has the right to appeal to the same two judges to review his case. If that fails he can take his appeal to other Supreme Court judges. His last hope lies with a plea for clemency to the president.
There will now be huge pressure for the death sentence to be carried out soon.
A spokesman for India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said there should be “no delay” in executing Qasab.
“Those who wage war against the country and kill innocents deserve no mercy,” he said.
Prosecutor Gopal Subramaniam hailed the verdict as “a complete victory of the due processes of law”.
“It was a case argued in a completely professional and dispassionate manner,” Gopal Subramaniam said.
Defence lawyer Raju Ramachandran told reporters outside the court that he had made his arguments and “the court considered them”.
“I bow to the verdict,” he added.
The trial court in Mumbai had found Mohammad Qasab guilty on 3 May 2010 of murder, terrorist acts and waging war on India and sentenced him to death.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Mohammad Qasab argued that the prosecution had “failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt” the charges against him.
He said he “may be guilty of killing people and carrying out a terrorist act but I am not guilty of waging war against the state”.
The 60-hour siege of Mumbai began on 26 November 2008, targeting luxury hotels, the main railway station and a Jewish cultural centre.
Mohammad Qasab and an accomplice carried out the assault on the station, killing 52 people.
India blamed Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks.
After initial denials, Pakistan acknowledged that the assault had been partially planned on its territory and that Mohammad Qasab was a Pakistani citizen.
Bulgarian authorities has released CCTV footage of the man suspected of carrying out the deadly suicide bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists at Burgas airport.
A white man with long hair and a backpack is seen walking around the terminal and leaving before the blast.
The Bulgarian authorities say the man – believed to be 36 years old – had a fake US driving licence.
Israel blames Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran for Wednesday’s blast which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian driver.
The suspected bomber also died in the explosion in the eastern Bulgarian city by the Black Sea.
At least 30 people were injured, some seriously.
In response to Israel’s accusations, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday that Tehran strongly condemned “all terrorist acts”.
Bulgarian authorities has released CCTV footage of the man suspected of carrying out the deadly suicide bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists at Burgas airport
Hezbollah – a Shia militant group – has not publicly commented on the issue.
The attack could be part of a covert but violent war between Israel and Iran, and there is a view among some analysts that this attack could be a response to a series of recent attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists.
The Bulgarian authorities released the security camera footage of the suspect on Thursday.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the man is believed to have been in the country up to seven days before the attack.
“We cannot exclude the possibility that he had logistical support on Bulgarian territory,” Tsvetan Tsvetanov said, without providing further details.
The authorities are now trying to identify the man from DNA samples.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the attack “was perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran’s leading terrorist proxy”.
Benjamin Netanyahu said it was part of “a global campaign of terror carried out by Iran and Hezbollah”.
On Wednesday, the prime minister warned that “Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror”.
Israeli officials also stressed that the bombing resembled several recent attempted attacks on Israeli targets in India, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Kenya and Cyprus.
Passengers arriving on a charter flight from Tel Aviv boarded the bus at Burgas airport shortly after 17:00 local time on Wednesday.
“I was on the bus and we had just sat down when after a few seconds we heard a really loud explosion,” Gal Malka told Israel’s army radio.
“The whole bus went up in flames,” she said, adding that the explosion took place near the front of the bus.
Bulgarian journalist Dobromir Doskacharov, who arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the blast, said: “I saw three buses completely burnt out – just the metal bars were left.”
“There were crowds of people around, very distressed. One man said he saw decapitated heads. Others spoke of body parts flying through the air,” Dobromir Dovkacharov said.
Israeli officials say the identification of the five Israeli victims has now been completed and they will be flown home later on Thursday.
Bulgaria is a popular tourist destination for Israelis.
However, in January there were reports that Israel had asked Bulgaria to tighten security for Israeli tourists travelling by bus.
This followed a reported discovery of a suspicious package found on a bus with Israeli tourists travelling from Turkey to Bulgaria.