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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 14:10 GMT
India parliament raid sentence upheld
Relatives of condemned men weeping
Relatives were distraught over the convicts' sentences
The High Court in Delhi has rejected an Indian woman's claim that she was wrongly convicted of helping militants launch a deadly attack on parliament.

Navjot Sandhu was appealing against a five-year jail term for failing to report the plot to police.

She argued that her conviction last December was based on invalid evidence.

Sandhu, alias Afsan Guru, is the wife of one of three Kashmiri men to be sentenced to death for aiding the attackers.

Indian parliament attack
The gunmen killed nine people
Mohammed Afzal, a 35-year-old fruit merchant, Shaukat Hussain Guru and SAR Geelani, a Delhi college teacher, were convicted of waging war on the state and conspiracy to murder.

The three men did not play a direct part in the attack in which five suspected Islamic militants shot nine men dead at parliament before being killed by security forces.

They are said to have helped organise the raid.

Like Sandhu, the men have appealed against the lower court's decision. Their cases are scheduled to begin later.

Baby in jail

Sandhu married Guru shortly before the attack.

Since being jailed, she has given birth to a child.

The High Court judges ruled she should serve her prison term, saying five years was less than the prosecution had asked for.

They also refused to bail her on health grounds after she fell ill following the birth.

They ordered the authorities to provide proper medical care to her and her child.

Militant links

Death by hanging is rare in India, and tends to be applied in particularly high-profile cases.

The three death penalties in the case were the first to be handed out under India's then newly-enacted Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Police say Afzal and Hussain are members of the Pakistan-backed militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, fighting in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The gunmen had intended to capture parliament and to kill the prime minister and home minister, the judge at the original trial said.

Relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated after the 2001 attack, as they mobilised up to a million men along their common border, leading to international concern about a possible war.

India blames Pakistan for backing Kashmiri militant attacks on India - a charge that Islamabad has denied.

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18 Dec 02 | South Asia
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