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Court upholds Mumbai bomber's death sentence

Co-accused have sentences commuted

Swati Deb, New Delhi

March 21, 2013

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India’s highest court on Thursday upheld a death sentence handed down to a Muslim man for his role in a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai that killed 257 people 20 years ago.

The Supreme Court ruled that Yakub Memon will go to the gallows for being one of the key coordinators of 13 bomb explosions that rocked the city on March 12, 1993, and also injured 300.

The bomb attacks came three months after Hindu militants demolished a mosque at a disputed religious site in Uttar Pradesh.

"We have no doubt about Memon's role in the blasts," the court said, confirming the death sentence handed to him by a special anti-terrorism court in Mumbai in 2007.

At the original trial, the special court had condemned 11 people to death and sentenced another 20 to life imprisonment.

The Supreme Court on Thursday, however, commuted the death sentences of the other 10 to life imprisonment, saying they were not the main conspirators behind the attacks even though they had planted the bombs. 

Investigators claim the blasts were masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim, head of a Bombay-based international crime syndicate along with Yakub Memon's brother, Tiger Memon.

Tiger and Ibrahim "fled India after the blasts and from Dubai they were taken to Pakistan and are still hiding there,” Mumbai-based lawyer Ujjwal Nikam told

Prosecutors say the bombers were backed by Pakistan's intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Several of the terrorists received arms, ammunition and explosives training in Pakistan, according to investigators.

“The hanging of Yakub will certainly put pressure on Pakistan not to support such heinous crimes,” Nikam said.

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