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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 13:39 GMT
Death sentence for Red Fort raid
Ashfaq Arif after sentencing
Ashfaq Arif (left) was the mastermind of the raid, police said
A court in India has sentenced one man to death for attacking an army barracks at Delhi's Red Fort five years ago.

Two co-conspirators of Pakistani national Ashfaq Arif received life sentences and four others seven-year jail terms for their role in the raid.

Three people died in the December 2000 attack at the 17th century fort, one of the capital's most famous landmarks.

All those convicted pleaded not guilty and are planning to appeal, their lawyers say.

'Travesty'

Arif, the man found guilty of masterminding the attack, had been arrested along with his wife, Rahmana Farooqi, four days after the raid.

Arif was found guilty of charges including waging war against India, as were two men police said had helped him.

Sikh regiment at Red Fort hand-over
Indian troops used the fort as a garrison until 2003

He was also convicted of murder and criminal conspiracy. His wife was found guilty of harbouring an offender, but cleared of the more serious charges.

Arif shouted in protest as the verdict was read out, while outside the Delhi courtroom a crowd shouted "hang the terrorists".

The judge said: "The foreign national and his accomplices had entered into Indian territory with a view to subvert the functioning of the government and destabilise society."

The lawyer for Arif and his wife called the judgement a travesty of justice and announced an appeal.

Three other alleged militants who prosecutors say were suspects in the Red Fort raid died in shootouts with police in Delhi and Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, following the attack.

Police say another eight suspects are still at large.

The authorities say two militants entered the Red Fort, then being used as an army garrison, on the night of 22 December, 2000.

The gunmen attacked an army supply depot, killing two soldiers and a guard, before escaping.

Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Toiba, said it carried out the attack, which strained relations between India and Pakistan.

The Red Fort was the seat of Mughal rule until 1857, when India began to be governed by the British.

Indian troops left the fort in December 2003, after which it was handed over to the tourism ministry.



SEE ALSO:
Indian army leaves the Red Fort
22 Dec 03 |  South Asia
Police search for Delhi bombers
19 Jun 00 |  South Asia
Country profile: India
14 Sep 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: India
08 Oct 05 |  Country profiles


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