India upholds Kashmiri death verdict
An Indian court  has upheld death sentences on two Kashmiri Muslims for their roles in a deadly attack on parliament in December 2001.
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2003 09:07 GMT
Numerous lives have been lost in the fight for lush Kashmir
An Indian court  has upheld death sentences on two Kashmiri Muslims for their roles in a deadly attack on parliament in December 2001.

The Delhi High Court, hearing a plea against the death sentences handed down by a special court to three men last December, upheld the sentences on Muhammad Afzal and Shaukat Husyan Guru.

Both men were said to be affiliated to the Jaish Muhammad group battling Indian occupation in Kashmir.

However, the court acquitted a third man who had been given the death penalty, SAR Gilani, a college lecturer, as well as Husyan's wife, Afsan Guru, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment for concealing the conspiracy to attack the parliament.

Special court

In December, a special 'anti-terrorism' court had found the three men guilty of waging war against the state of India by conspiring with five Kashmir resistance fighters to kill senior political leaders inside parliament.

The sentences were announced under the provisions of the tough Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), the Indian Penal Code and Explosive Substances Act. The judgement was the first under POTA.

In the 13 December 2001 attack, five armed rebels stormed the parliament grounds, killing 8 police officers and a gardener before they were shot dead by Indian security forces.

A journalist wounded in the attack died months later of his wounds.

Legal challenge

The four accused had challenged their convictions, as the Delhi High Court last year had questioned the use of transcripts of taped telephone conversations as evidence in the 'anti-terrorism' court.

The Delhi court had then said the transcripts could not be used in the case, as police had failed to follow the procedures laid down under POTA for tapping phones.

The transcripts formed the basis of the case made out by the prosecution against the four accused.

The last time an accused is known to have been executed in India, was in the case related to Indira Gandhi's murder in 1984

In allowing the appeal of Gilani and Afsan Guru, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said "prosecution has not been able to sustain the charges against them", the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.
Afzal's counsel requested the high court to stay his execution, but the judges ruled that as the jail authorities were not going to carry out execution orders immediately, the defence had "enough time to file an appeal".
The last time an accused is known to have been executed in India was in the case related to prime minister Indira Gandhi's murder in 1984, for which two people were executed. 
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.