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Pune bomber receives death sentence

Muslim man found guilty of blast that killed 17

Pune bomber receives death sentence
The court said that Mirza Himiyat Baig was targeting foreigners
Swati Deb, New Delhi

April 19, 2013

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An Indian court has handed down a death sentence to a 33-year-old Muslim man found guilty of a bomb attack at a bakery in the western city of Pune three years ago. The attack killed 17 people and injured more than 60.

Mirza Himiyat Baig, a 33-year-old former teacher, was the sole defendant in a case which the court described as the “rarest of the rare," the first bomb attack in India since the deadly Mumbai attacks two years earlier.

"The accused is greatly influenced by the ideology of terrorism, and looking at his calculated moves in giving effect to the conspiracy and terrorism act, I am of the considered view that there are no chances of his reformation and that he is a threat to society," the judgment said.

Baig's defense maintained that Baig was not in Pune on the day of the blast at the popular German Bakery on February 13, 2010. His lawyer A. Rahman also pleaded for leniency on the grounds of his young age, poor family background and the fact that he was an educated person and a teacher.

He also argued that Maharashtra police during investigations had failed to visit the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, where the conspiracy was allegedly hatched in March 2008.

Baig was found guilty of accompanying Yasin Bhatkal, who allegedly planted the bomb.

Five suspects are still at large, all members of a banned militant group, according to police. Two Muslim terror groups claimed responsibility for the blast but investigators say the attack could have been the work of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a larger Pakistan-based terror group operating in Asia.

Investigators said that the attack targeted foreigners, five of whom were killed in the blast, in an area of Pune including the Jewish Chabad House and an international meditation resort called Osho Ashram which is popular with visitors from overseas.

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