Indian court sentences three to death for 2003 bombing

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The Independent Online

A court today sentenced to death three Indians found guilty of conspiring with a Pakistan-based militant group to carry out serial blasts in Mumbai in 2003 that killed at least 54 people, officials said.

The blasts were blamed on Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which New Delhi also says carried out the November attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people and raised tension between India and Pakistan.



Last week, Ashrat Ansari, Mohammad Hanif and his wife Fehmida were found guilty of conspiring with the LeT in the two blasts in Mumbai in August 2003 at a jewellery market and a popular tourist spot that also wounded 200 people.



"The court has awarded the death sentence to all three found guilty in this rarest of rare case," said Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor, who had pressed for the death penalty for the three, despite pleas for a lesser sentence for the woman.



"We are happy that we have shown that people responsible for acts of terror will be punished in a befitting manner," he said.



The prosecution had charged that the plot was hatched in Dubai with several Pakistani LeT co-conspirators.



The sentencing today by a special court comes days after Pakistan's Supreme Court adjourned an appeal hearing to decide whether to re-arrest LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who was held after the November Mumbai attacks.



The Lahore High Court had freed Saeed in June citing a lack of evidence against him.

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