Thu, Feb 07, 2008
Seven Suspects, Three Rebels Remain At Large
Life terms were handed down this
week to three Indian men found guilty in the 1999 hijacking of an
Indian Airlines Airbus A300 to Afghanistan, that resulted in the
death of one passenger and the release of three pro-Kashmir Islamic
Abdul Latif, Bhupal Man Damai (also known as Yusaf Nepali), and
Dalip Kumar Bhujel were found guilty of abduction, criminal
conspiracy and murder. The court ruling indicted the three men,
currently in custody for the Kandahar hijacking in December
Ten people were accused of involvement in the hijacking of
Indian Airlines flight 814 on December 24, 1999, in which 179
passengers and 11 crew members were held hostage for one week. One
passenger was mortally wounded from knife wounds received during
the ordeal, enforcing the verdict of murder.
The three men charged have been in custody for eight years,
while the other seven suspects remain at large. "It's a job half
done," Central Bureau of Investigation director Vijay Shanker
commented to Agence-France Presse.
Defense council plans to appeal the ruling to higher courts,
claiming the verdict was given based on allegations.
According to news reports, the flight from Kathmandu to New
Delhi was hijacked and taken to Amritsar, Lahore, and Dubai before
making a final landing in Afghanistan's Kandahar. The hijackers
used threats of violence against the passengers to persuade the
commander to divert for fuel stops on the way to Kandahar.
The hostages were ultimately released in an exchange with the
Indian government, which negotiated the release of three terrorists
on December 31, 1999.
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