South Asia

India court confirms death penalty for Red Fort attack

Pakistani man Ashfaq Arif (C) is escorted by Indian policemen as he walks out of court in Delhi on 31 October 2005
Image caption Ashfaq Arif was the mastermind of the raid, police said

India's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Ashfaq Arif, a Pakistani man convicted of attacking an army barracks at Delhi's Red Fort.

Arif, a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, was convicted for masterminding the attack.

He was given the death penalty by a local court. The Delhi high court confirmed the sentence in 2007.

Three people died in the December 2000 attack on the 17th Century fort, one of India's most famous landmarks. The raid strained relations with Pakistan.

Arif was arrested along with his wife, Rehmana Yousuf Farooqui, four days after the raid and found guilty of murder, criminal conspiracy and waging war against India.

The trial court convicted him and six others in October 2005.

He was sentenced to death, while the others received jail terms of varying length.

In September 2007, the high court upheld his conviction, but ordered the release of the others for lack of evidence.

The authorities said two militants entered the Red Fort - then being used as an army garrison - on the night of 22 December, 2000.

The gunmen attacked an army supply depot, killing two soldiers and a guard, before escaping.

The Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba, said it carried out the attack, which strained relations between India and Pakistan.

The Red Fort was the seat of Mughal rule until 1857, when India began to be governed by the British.

Indian troops left the fort in December 2003, after which it was handed over to the tourism ministry.

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