Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Family of Mumbai victims: "More killing does not solve anything"

This Indian news story gives voice to victim opposition to the death penalty in the case of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai:

Chicago: As Ajmal Kasab awaits punishment after being held guilty in the Mumbai attacks, the widow of an American killed in the terror strikes says she does not favour death penalty for the Pakistani gunman and prefers him to be jailed for life.

Kia Scherr, whose 13-year-old daughter was also killed in the 26/11 strikes, further said she is planning to visit India later this year and would especially like to meet "the families of those who lost their lives in the attack" in November 2008.

"I have never favoured the death penalty. More killing does not solve anything. Kasab should remain in the Indian prison system for life. In the meantime, I favour rehabilitation and education," Scherr told PTI in an e-mail statement.

Kasab will be sentenced tomorrow by a special court in Mumbai with the prosecution demanding death penalty, branding him a killing machine manufactured in Pakistan.

Scherr's husband, Virginia resident Alan Scherr, and their daughter Naomi were at Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel when Kasab along with nine other Pakistani terrorists held the city hostage for three days killing 166 people, including six Americans.

Terming the court's guilty verdict as "appropriate", Scherr said "I do think this verdict of guilty for Ajmal Kasab will bring some closure to the families of the victims".

Planning to visit India later this year, Scherr said she would like to meet the people of Mumbai.

"Mr Oberoi, the owner of the Oberoi Hotel, where my husband and daughter were killed, is in support of our message and has agreed to be an honorary member of our Board of Advisors. He invited us to be his guests when we come to Mumbai," she said.

Scherr said if Kasab could be moved to tell the truth, he could "perhaps prevent more young men from joining the terrorist groups. I am open to this possibility and would be willing to have this conversation with him".

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