MUMBAI, India – The only surviving suspected gunman in last year's terrorist attacks in Mumbai pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges against him, including waging war against India and murder.
Prosecutors told the court that Mohammed Ajmal Kasab was one of 10 attackers responsible for killing 166 people and wounding 234 more during the three-day siege of India's financial capital last November. Nine other suspected gunmen were killed during the attacks.
Judge M.L. Tahiliyani, who is presiding over the trial, read out all the charges against Kasab in a Mumbai courtroom Wednesday. Kasab responded with a plea of not guilty and said, "I don't accept these charges."
Kasab will face the death penalty if convicted.
Kasab also told the court that he was 21 years old, prompting laughter in the courtroom because of the defense's recent attempts to prove that Kasab was a minor — under 18 years — which would have meant lighter penalties. After several medical examinations, Tahiliyani ruled that Kasab was 21 and would be tried as an adult.
Kasab also said that he was a laborer from the town of Faridkot in Pakistan's Punjab province.
Prosecutors claim the attacks were masterminded by the Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and say investigations are ongoing to determine the scope of Pakistani involvement in the attack.
The attacks raised tensions between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed rivals who have fought three wars against each other since gaining independence in 1947.
Kasab's two co-defendants — both Indians accused of helping plot the attack — also pleaded not guilty to a string of charges that included murder and waging war against India. They also face the death penalty.