March 17th, 2005
Air India Trial Opened Wounds info
"If these Men are Not Guilty then who killed all those innocent travelers" ?
................ For 18 Long years canadian Authorities Investagated ............ then started the Trial that went on for 2 years .............. and now the convicted are free ............... 20 Long years ..............It's ridiculous to have a trial run for twenty years and at the end see the guilty acquitted for insufficient evidence.
With most of the key witnesses being dead these men must walk free ? ........... If these people are Innocent then why have they been charged for so long and who the real Killers are ? ............ There have ben Quite a few Dramatic MOments during teh Trail Including The Investigating Officer Himself Destroying Key Testamonies ...
| Source:Yahoo News |
BOMBAY, India - Mukta Bhat, who lost three relatives in the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight, was inconsolable Thursday after a Canadian judge acquitted two men accused of conspiring to plant the bomb in the world's worst terrorist strike before Sept. 11.
Bhat stayed up past midnight Indian time to learn the verdict in the long-delayed trial in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the doomed flight originated. While expressing sympathy with the victims' relatives, a Canadian judge acquitted the men Wednesday, saying prosecution witnesses had lied and were not credible.
"If these men are not guilty, then who killed all those innocent travelers?" asked a sobbing Bhat, 73. "Who will answer for all our years of pain?"
Her bewilderment was echoed by families of the victims across India, some of whom had traveled to Vancouver to hear parts of the nearly two years of proceedings in a custom-built, $4.8 million courtroom.
In a nod to the international nature of the disaster, the Canadian government had provided plane tickets to families of the victims.
Air India Flight 182 from Montreal to London, originating in Vancouver, exploded and crashed off Ireland on June 23, 1985. All 329 people on board were killed.
An hour earlier, a bomb in baggage intended for another Air India flight exploded in a Tokyo airport, killing two baggage handlers.
Prosecutors had argued militant Sikh immigrants living in British Columbia planted the bombs in luggage on the London-bound flight. It took 17 years to bring the complex case to trial. The investigation involved several countries, including Ireland and Japan.
Four people — including the two acquitted Wednesday, Ripudaman Singh Malik, 58, and Ajaib Singh Bagri, 55 — were eventually arrested.
Alleged bomb-maker Inderjit Singh Reyat pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to one count of manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison. Former Vancouver Sikh Temple president Hardial Singh Johal was arrested but not charged. He has since died.
Canada made government officials available in India late Wednesday to relay the verdict to family members of the victims there. Bhat, who lives in Bombay, said she heard news from such a Canadian liaison official.
"How can both be not guilty?" she said. "The trial has run 23 months. What was the use of all this?" she asked.
"It's simply not fair. I can't believe this. ... It's too sad," she said, adding that in the end the trial had just raked up more pain for relatives.
"They (the accused) changed our lives, the verdict couldn't change it more," Amerjeet Singh Bhinder, wife of co-pilot N.S. Bhinder, told the Star News television channel. "Still, we expected justice."
But many Sikhs in India, including Malik's relatives and friends in his native town Ferozepur, cheered the news. "We are very happy. Our prayers to God have been answered," said Malik's aunt Surinder Kaur, who believes her nephew is innocent.
The body that runs Sikh shrines in India, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, welcomed the verdict. "Sikhs are very humane in nature. They cannot indulge in such crimes," said Delmeg Singh, the committee's secretary.
Canadian Prosecutor Robert Wright maintained the bombings were revenge by Sikh separatists for a 1984 raid by Indian forces on the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Sikhism's holiest shrine. The operation was launched by Indian soldiers to flush hundreds of Sikh militants and their chief from the temple.
But British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Ian Josephson said several of the prosecution's witnesses had lied. For example, a key witness against Bagri had testified the accused told him "We did this" when talking about the bombing outside a New Jersey gas station.
Josephson said that was a lie, because records showed Bagri was in Kamloops, British Columbia at the time.