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India upholds death penalty over 1993 Mumbai blasts

- March 21, 2013 - Updated 1318 PKT - From Web Edition

NEW DELHI: India's top court upheld the death penalty on Thursday for a mastermind of a series of bombings which killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993, the deadliest set of attacks in the country's history.


Yakub Memon, brother of the alleged main plotter and fugitive Tiger Memon, was the only one of 11 convicts to see his death sentence upheld by the Supreme Court for his role in the blasts which wounded more than 800 people.


The judges also handed down a five-year term for the prominent Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt for possessing illegal weapons bought from gangsters accused of orchestrating the bombings.


Announcing the sentences, Supreme Court judge P. Sathashivam said the Memon brothers and another suspect, Dawood Ibrahim, "were archers and rest of the appellants were arrows in their hands".


"They were the architects of the blasts," Sathashivam, one of two judges presiding over the case, said.


The remaining convicts who had appealed against the death penalty saw their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.


Executions are only carried out for "the rarest of rare" cases in India but President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a number of mercy pleas in the last few months, ending an unofficial eight-year moratorium.

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