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Air India Bombings

Old 13th Apr 2001, 11:27
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Cool Air India Bombings

You can run, but you can't hide...

This from todays Irish Independent 13 April


Air India slaughter accused face trial next year

THE trial of two men charged with the 1985 bombing of an Air India jet that killed 329 people off the coast of Cork could begin earlier than expected, in February 2002, and lawyers said yesterday it could last eight months.

Attorneys for Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik suggested a February 4, 2002, starting date for the trial for the two men charged with history's deadliest act of aviation sabotage.

The trial is expected to be one of the most complicated in Canadian history, and observers had warned that, with attorneys having to review all the evidence from a 15-year investigation, the hearing might not start until late next year.

Bagri and Malik deny involvement in the June 23, 1985 destruction of an Air India 747 off the coast of Ireland, which is believed to be the work of Sikh religious extremists as revenge against the Indian government.

The men, who were arrested in October, are also charged with a related bombing that killed two airport workers in Tokyo. Bagri is also charged with the 1988 attempted murder of Tara Singh Hayer, a Canadian newspaper publisher who had been critical of violence by Sikh extremists.

"At the end of the day I believe there is a high likelihood my client will be acquitted," Bagri's attorney, Richard Peck, predicted in a hearing yesterday before a British Columbia supreme court judge.

Although Air India Flight 182 was destroyed off Ireland, Canada handled the criminal probe because the bombs are thought to have been built in the Vancouver area and most of the victims were Canadian citizens headed to India.

Prosecutors also want to charge a third man, Inderjit Singh Reyat, for the Air India bombing, but need Britain's permission to change the terms under which Britain extradited Reyat to Canada for trial on the Tokyo bombing.

Reyat was convicted of manslaughter for building the bomb that killed the airport workers and is in the final months of his 10-year sentence. The Tokyo bomb is believe to have been intended for another Air India jet but it exploded prematurely.

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