INDIA. DEATH FOR PARLIAMENT RAIDER
|India's parliament in the capital New Delhi where the attack took place in 2001
August 4, 2005: the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence handed to Mohammed Afzal for involvement in a deadly attack on parliament by Muslim militants four years ago.
But the court lifted the death penalty on Shaukat Hussain and instead gave him 10 years in prison for the raid in Dec. 2001, which reignited tensions with Pakistan.
Five gunmen had stormed the heavily guarded parliament complex and killed nine people before being shot dead by guards.
"We have confirmed the death sentence given by the high court to Mohammed Afzal," a two-judge Supreme Court bench said in its judgment.
The verdict came after Afzal and Hussain appealed to the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order sentencing them to death under a tough anti-terrorism law.
The High Court had found them guilty of "waging war against India, murder and terrorist activity" under the Prevention of Terrorism Activity Act. The top court concurred.
"He did everything to help the terrorists in their nefarious act and evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt that Afzal was a party to the conspiracy and had a nexus with the deceased terrorists."
The court said it absolved Hussain of murder charges and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment. New Delhi blamed Pakistan for the raid -- a charge Islamabad denied -- and the nuclear-armed rivals mobilised their armies along the border and came close to war in 2002.
The Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a college lecturer, Abdul Rehman Geelani, who was also sentenced to death by a lower trial court in connection with the parliament raid but that verdict was later reversed by the Delhi High Court. (Sources: Reuters, 04/08/2005)