Kanishka convict denied parole in Canada


Vancouver : Canada's National Parole Board has upheld an earlier decision to deny parole to the only man convicted in the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing.

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According to the board's decision Tuesday, Inderjit Singh Reyat must remain in a British Columbia prison until his sentence is completed in February 2008.

Reyat was eligible for parole last year, but the board rejected his application, saying he tried to downplay his role in the airliner bombing that killed 329 people.

In 2003, Reyat was sentenced to five years imprisonment for manslaughter after he admitted to buying bomb-making materials used to explode the plane off the coast of Ireland, The Globe and Mail reported.

During the trial, two other Indo-Canadian Sikhs, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were acquitted of murder and conspiracy charges.

Air India Flight 182 exploded while at an altitude of 31,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, killing 329 passengers onboard, of whom 82 were children.

Until Sep 11, 2001, the Kanishka bombing was the single deadliest terrorist attack involving aircraft.

Critics have long blamed turf battles between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for the failure to avert the bombing, and for hampering the criminal investigation that followed the attack.

Last year, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an inquiry, tasked with investigating if authorities underestimated the threat posed by Sikh extremists in Canada and if security agencies in Canada impeded the prosecution and appointed former Supreme Court justice John Major to head the inquiry.