Indian Court Sentences 2003 Mumbai Bombers to Death

MUMBAI (RPRN) 8/6/2009–An Indian court has sentenced three people to death for carrying out bomb attacks in India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, in 2003 that killed 52 people. The special court in Mumbai handed down the death penalties Thursday after convicting the three Indian nationals last month of murder and criminal conspiracy.

Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam welcomed the death sentences against Mohammed Haneef Sayyed, his wife Fahmeeda, and co-conspirator Ashrat Ansari. Lawyers for the three plan to appeal the rulings to a higher court.

The court found the three Indians guilty of planting bombs in two taxis that exploded within minutes at Mumbai’s Gateway of India monument and a busy jewelry market.

Prosecutors said the attack was in revenge for Hindu killings of Muslims during religious riots in western India’s Gujarat state in 2001. They said the three people on trial were members of a Gujarat Revenge Force with ties to a banned Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Indian authorities say L-e-T also was behind last November’s terrorist attack on Mumbai in which gunmen killed 166 people in several places, including five-star hotels.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Photo credit: Syed Mohammed Haneef Abdul Rahim, left, one of people found guilty in 2003 Mumbai bombings, is escorted by policemen outside Mumbai court, 6 Aug 2009, courtesy VOA News.