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India Sentences 7 to Death in US Cultural Center Attack


An Indian Court has sentenced seven people to death in connection with an attack three years ago on a U.S. cultural center in the eastern city of Calcutta.

A Calcutta city court judge sentenced the seven people to death after finding them guilty of murder, conspiracy, and "waging war" against the country.

The men were arrested following an attack in January 2002 on the American Center in Calcutta.

Four men on two motorcycles fired at guards posted outside the center. The attack killed five policemen and wounded 20 other people. No Americans were hurt in the assault.

The convicted men include Aftab Ansari, an Indian gangster who Indian police say masterminded the attack. He was arrested in Dubai and extradited to India.

Investigators have also linked Ansari with Islamic extremists, including a Pakistani militant accused of abducting and killing American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Defense lawyer Syed Shahi Imam says he is unhappy with the trial. He says he will challenge the verdict in a higher court, and is confident of victory.

The trial was held amid tight security in a special court set up in jail after police said they feared Ansari might try to escape on his way to court. Two men were acquitted for lack of evidence.

The attack on the American Center came weeks after a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi says was led by Islamic extremist groups.

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