Man convicted in Air India bomb plot found guilty of perjury

A man found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the 1985 Air India bombings [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] was found guilty Saturday of perjury. Inderjit Singh Reyat was the only person convicted for his role in the 1985 terrorist attacks where bombs were planted in suitcases aboard airplanes leaving Vancouver. One bomb went off in Japan's Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers, and another bomb went off on Air India Flight 182 as it flew over Ireland, killing all 329 passengers. Reyat admitted to buying the parts to make the bombs and was convicted of manslaughter in 1991 for the incident in Japan and in 2003 for the incident aboard Flight 182. This most recent conviction is related to the 2003 trial in which Reyat lied under oath 19 times [Montreal Gazette report] during his three-day testimony against alleged co-conspirators Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri. Reyat testified that he could not remember details relating to the bomb plot and could not remember the name of the man that received the bomb parts he had purchased. The men were acquitted [JURIST report] in 2005 of conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder of the passengers and crew of Flight 182 and attempted murder of the passengers and crew due to lack of evidence. Prosecutors alleged Reyat was protecting other individuals involved, while Reyat's lawyer argued he was confused and had trouble remembering what had taken place after 18 years. Reyat is scheduled for sentencing on November 17 [AFP report] and could face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

In June, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] formally apologized [JURIST report] to the families of the bombing victims for the government's failure to prevent the attack. Harper delivered his apology a week after Canada's Commission of Inquiry [official website] into the bombing released its final report [JURIST report] finding various institutional organizations failed to fulfill their responsibilities before and after the bombing. The report condemned the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) [official websites] for not utilizing available information, failing to enhance security and not cooperating with each other during the bombing investigation. The 1985 bombing was the largest single modern terror attack against a Western target prior to the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive] in the US, and it resulted in the longest and most expensive trial in Canadian history.

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