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Geelani, Navjot Sandhu acquitted

Onkar Singh in New Delhi/PTI | October 29, 2003 11:05 IST

A division bench of the Delhi high court on Wednesday acquitted S A R Geelani and Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, the lone woman convicted in the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

Earlier, Geelani had been convicted and sentenced under POTA and various provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being part of the conspiracy and waging war against the state, while Sandhu was charged with concealing the conspiracy and sentenced to five years imprisonment.

The bench also upheld the verdict of a special POTA court holding Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists Mohammed Afzal and Shaukat Hussain Guru guilty of waging war against the State and the award of death sentence.

Shaukat Hussain Guru is Navjot Sandhu's husband.

The bench comprising Justice Usha Mehra and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog accepted the state's appeal to enhance the punishment awarded to Afzal and Shaukat under Section 121 (A) of the IPC from life imprisonment to the death penalty.

Shaukat Hussain Guru is likely to appeal in the Supreme Court. "We have strong grounds to file an appeal in the Supreme Court though I'm yet to see the judgment of the high court as I was not in the court today," his counsel senior advocate Shanti Bhushan said adding, "In my opinion, his appeal was unanswerable and the judgment is totally incorrect in the case of Shaukat."

Welcoming Geelani's acquittal senior counsel Ram Jethmalani said, "This verdict will restore the confidence of the entire world, particularly the inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir in the integrity and competence of the Indian judicial system. I think this is the greatest benefit of this judgment. I also think that it will help to solve the Kashmir problem."

Geelani's family is also relieved. "We had firm faith in the law and that my husband would be acquitted," Quratulin Arifa Geelani, wife of the Delhi University lecturer, told PTI. "We were convinced that my husband was implicated in the case. Since the day he was arrested we believed he would be acquitted."

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