Canadian sentenced for perjury in Air India bombing

Fri Jan 7, 2011 4:20pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A Canadian man already convicted of involvement in the world's deadliest bombing of an airliner was sentenced on Friday to nine years jail for lying when he told a court he did not know details of the bombing conspiracy.

Inderjit Singh Reyat's claims of remorse for his role in the 1985 bombing of an Air India airliner, which killed 329 people, "ring hollow" because of his refusal to tell what he knows, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan said.

"In the witness box, Mr. Reyat behaved like a man still committed to a cause which treated hundreds of men, women and children as expendable," McEwan said in sentencing Reyat for perjury.

Air India Flight 182 was destroyed by a suitcase bomb off the coast of Ireland in June 1985 en route from Canada to India via London.

Canadian and Indian police have long alleged the bombing was conducted by Sikh extremists living in Western Canada as revenge on India for its deadly storming of Sikhism's Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984.

Police say the plotters planned to destroy another Air India jet over the Pacific Ocean at the same time, but that suitcase bomb instead exploded in Japan's Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers.

Reyat pleaded guilty in 2003 to a reduced charge of helping to build the Flight 182 bomb, and later that year was called by prosecutors as a witness at the trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajiab Singh Bagri, who were also accused of plotting the bombing.

Reyat testified that he never learned details of the plot, and did not know the name of a man who spent a week at Reyat's home in Duncan, British Columbia, building the explosive devices.   Continued...

<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>