Air India bomber loses Canadian bail request

Fri Mar 7, 2008 6:26pm EST
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The only person convicted in connection with the 1985 Air India bombings, which killed 331 people, was denied bail on Friday as he awaits trial in Canada on a related perjury charge.

Inderjit Singh Reyat, 55, sat calmly in the prisoners box as the judge read the ruling. He nodding to several friends in the court audience as he left. Details of a Canadian judge's decision on bail are subject to a court publication ban.

The June 1985 destruction of Air India Flight 182 over the Atlantic Ocean while en route to India from Canada, killed 329 people in history's deadliest bombing of a civilian airliner. A related attempt to bomb an Air India jet over the Pacific killed two ground workers at Japan's Narita airport.

The bombings are alleged to have been the work of Western Canadian-based Sikh militants seeking revenge on the Indian government for its 1984 attack on Sikhism's Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Reyat, who was born in India and holds both Canadian and British citizenship, was convicted in 1993 of building the suitcase bomb that exploded in Japan. He pleaded guilty in 2003 to a reduced charge for his role in the Fight 182 bombing.

After pleading guilty, Reyat told the Vancouver trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, who had been accused of participating in the bomb plot, that he did not know who else was involved. Malik and Bagri were found not guilty, but the judge called Reyat an "unmitigated liar."

Reyat was later charged with perjury. His sentences for the Narita and Flight 182 bomb verdicts have both ended, but Friday's ruling allows officials to keep him in jail until the perjury trial starts in January 2009.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>An artist's sketch shows Inderjit Singh Reyat (L) appearing in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver British Columbia, March 27, 2006. REUTERS/Felicity Don</p>