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4 Found Guilty in Attack on Indian Parliament - 2002-12-16


An Indian anti-terrorism court has found four people guilty of charges related to an attack by suspected Islamic militants on the Indian Parliament last year. The sentences will be handed down on Tuesday.

The verdict against the four was announced in a packed courtroom. Justice S.N. Dhingra convicted three of the defendants of waging war against the state, and of plotting to assassinate the prime minister, the interior minister and other lawmakers.

The fourth, the wife of one of the three men, was found guilty of not disclosing information to police.

The December 13 attack on the Indian parliament killed 14 people, including the five gunmen who led the raid. India had blamed Pakistan-based militant groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and Laskhar-e-Taiba for the attack on Parliament.

None of the four persons found guilty took part in the attack, but were charged with helping to plan it. The judge said they had collected explosives, harbored and concealed terrorists and hatched a criminal conspiracy.

All four are Indian citizens. According to Indian prosecutors two of the men, Mohammad Afzal and Shaukat Hussain, came from Indian Kashmir, and were members of the hard-line Jaish-e-Mohammed group. They were arrested days after the attack in Kashmir.

The third, Abdul Rehman Geelani, was a college professor in New Delhi. The three men have been convicted under India's tough Prevention of Terrorism Act, which carries the death penalty.

Indian prosecutors have charged three others in the parliament attack including Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammad group. He was released Saturday by a Pakistani court after months of house arrest. The court said the Pakistani authorities had failed to justify the detention. India reacted angrily to Mr. Azhar's release. The attack on the Indian parliament brought the two countries close to war.

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