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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Seven to die for US centre attack
Aftab Ansari
Ansari, the attack mastermind, was arrested in Dubai
A court in India has sentenced to death seven men convicted of attacking the American cultural centre in Calcutta in January 2002.

Those convicted include Aftab Ahmed Ansari, who the judge said had planned the attack in which five policemen were killed and nearly 20 others injured.

Two other men were acquitted for lack of evidence.

The attack heightened tensions in South Asia, coming just weeks after a bloody raid on India's parliament.

India accused Pakistan of having a link to both attacks which was strongly denied by Islamabad.

Although India still supports the death penalty it is rarely carried out.

Appeals

On Tuesday, the special court in Calcutta had found the seven men guilty of the attack.

Policemen in Calcutta
Tight security at the US Calcutta consulate after the attack

The verdict came after 300 court hearings involving 123 prosecution witnesses and three defence witnesses over the past three years.

Their defence lawyer, Syed Shahid Imam, said they would appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

Judge Basudev Majumdar, who headed the special court, said the men had been found guilty of "waging war against the legally constituted government of India", murder and several other offences.

The special court was set up inside a jail in Calcutta after intelligence reports suggested that Ansari might try to escape while on his way to the court.

Ansari was arrested in Dubai and later extradited to India to stand trial.





SEE ALSO:
Charges over Calcutta kidnap
31 May 02 |  South Asia
Calcutta suspect faces arms probe
11 Feb 02 |  South Asia
Gunmen attack US centre in Calcutta
22 Jan 02 |  South Asia


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