219934            8/7/2009 13:27            09ISLAMABAD1845 Embassy Islamabad      CONFIDENTIAL            09ISLAMABAD1647 "VZCZCXRO7435

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SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/07/2019

TAGS: PREL, PTER, PGOV, PK

SUBJECT: MUMBAI PROSECUTION UPDATE: ABSCONDER ARRESTED

REF: ISLAMABAD 1647

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Gerald Feierstein for reasons 1.4 (b), (d).

1. (C)  On August 5, the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) arrested a sixth suspect, Jamil Ahmed, allegedly linked with the Mumbai terror attacks.  Ahmed was arrested after the Government of Saudi Arabia passed information they had from an Interpol lead.  Ahmed had allegedly sent money from Saudi Arabia to another arrested suspect, Shahid Jamil Riaz, just prior to the attacks.  Ahmed was previously named in the FIA's chargesheet as an absconder.  Using evidence from Interpol, the FBI, and Saudi Arabia, the FIA was able to trace phone numbers connected to both Ahmed and Riaz.  Ahmed was arrested from his home in Battgram, according to Pakistani press.  He joins the five other Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suspects, Lakhvi, Zarrar Shah, al-Qama, Shahid Jamil Riaz, and Hammad Amin Sadiq, in the Adiala jail.

2. (C) On July 25, the case against the suspects in the Mumbai terror attacks was adjourned until August 29.  The FIA plans to register its final charge sheet on this date.  The actual hearing may begin within 7 days after August 29, however, there is a chance that the ATC judge will adjourn the case until after Ramadan (near the end of September).

(Comment: Interior Minister Rehman Malik insisted in comments to us that the trial will proceed on August 29. End comment.)

3.  (C) The FIA is still waiting for a few items of evidence from India.  However, there is no expectation the GOI will release the items in time for the trial.  According to the FIA, the main piece of evidence they want from the GOI is a certified statement from the Indian judge hearing Ajmal Kasab's testimony in Mumbai.

4.  (C) Even without further evidence from India, the GOP case against the original five in custody is strong, but uneven, with the case against the lower-level two suspects stronger than that against the top three.  The strength of the case against Ahmed is unknown.  The FIA plans to have one of its investigators testify regarding controller voice recordings to try to convict top LeT leaders al-Qama and Lakhvi.  Legatt continues to work with FIA to strengthen evidence, for example by helping them screen fingerprints to gain better visibility of the prints.

FEIERSTEIN

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