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Mumbai Court Issues Some Verdicts in India's Deadliest Terror Attack


A court in India's financial capital, Mumbai, has found four members of the same family guilty in deadly terror attacks that targeted the city 13 years ago. 123 men and women have been on trial in the serial bombings - but the masterminds are believed to have fled the country.

On Tuesday, the special court in Mumbai convicted three brothers of a Muslim family - Yaqoub, Essa and Yusuf Memon - of committing terrorist acts and waging war against the country. Rubeena Memon, the wife of one of the brothers, was found guilty of assisting the acts. Three other members of the family were acquitted. Those convicted could face the death penalty.

These are the first verdicts handed down in India's worst terrorist attack, which targeted key sites around Mumbai, formerly Bombay, in 1993. The targets included the city's stock exchange, hotels, an airline office and a shopping complex. Bomb blasts ripped through the city for more than two hours, eventually killing 257 people and injuring more than 700.

Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam says it will take time to deliver the remaining 116 verdicts.

Nikam says the sentences will be announced after all the verdicts are delivered. He says the verdicts will be pronounced over the next month and a half.

The alleged ringleaders of the plot have never stood trial, and are believed to have fled the country.

The mammoth trial began in 1994, a year after the bombings took place. Most of the 123 defendants have been free on bail, but some have been in jail for more than a decade. Eleven people, including the father of the convicted Memon brothers, have died since the trial began. The list of accused includes gangsters, housewives and a popular movie star.

Indian authorities say an alleged organized crime leader, Dawood Ibrahim, mastermind the attacks in retaliation for the destruction of a 16th century mosque by a Hindu mob a year before the bombings. They say he fled to Pakistan after the attacks - the Pakistan government denies it.

Another member of the Memon family also fled the country. Police say he is a close associate of Dawood Ibrahim, and was one of the key players in the plot.

The lengthy trial has focused attention on India's slow moving justice system, and prompted calls for faster delivery of verdicts and closure of cases.