Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nepali among three convicted by India court for 1999 IA hijack

A court in India has sentenced three persons, including a Nepali national, to life imprisonment for their involvement in the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999, according to Reuters.
A court in the Indian state of Punjab Tuesday jailed Abdul Latif and Dalip Bhujail, both Indian nationals, and Yusuf Nepali, from Nepal, were convicted of criminal conspiracy and murder following an eight-year trial, the agency quoted B.S. Sodhi, their lawyer, as saying.
The court in Patiala said the men, who are known by several aliases, supplied weapons and fake passports to the hijackers.
Five armed men hijacked the Airbus A-300 carrying 189 passengers and crew between Kathmandu and New Delhi on Christmas Eve in 1999. The plane touched down in western India, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates before landing in Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The hijackers killed one passenger early in the week-long stand-off, but the remaining passengers and crew walked free after India released three Kashmir separatist militants from jail.
India said the hijackers were all Pakistani and accused Pakistan's government of complicity in the hijacking, charges it denied. The two neighbours have twice gone to war over who should rule the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The hijackers fled and have never been caught.
British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of the freed militants, was later convicted and sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for his role in the murder in 2002 of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
The three men convicted on Tuesday will appeal against the judgement, their lawyer said.

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