Image: Syed Mohammed Haneef Abdul Rahim and Ashrat Shafiq Mohammed Ansari
Rajanish Kakade  /  AP
Syed Mohammed Haneef Abdul Rahim, left, and Ashrat Shafiq Mohammed Ansari plan to appeal the verdict after being sentenced to death over a 2003 bombing in Mumbai, India.
updated 8/6/2009 9:08:28 AM ET 2009-08-06T13:08:28

An Indian court sentenced two men and a woman to death Thursday for their roles in a August 2003 terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed 52 people.

Two taxis carrying explosives blew up within minutes of each other at a popular tourist attraction on the city's waterfront and at a busy shopping complex. In addition to the dead, 100 were wounded in the attacks.

Ashrat Shafiq Mohammed Ansari, Syed Mohammed Haneef Abdul Rahim and his wife, Fahmeeda Syed Mohammed Haneef, were convicted last month of murder, conspiracy to kill and damaging public property.

Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor, said he welcomed the court's decision to impose the death penalty.

The three had pleaded not guilty and their lawyers said they plan to appeal the verdict to the state high court.

Three others were arrested in connection with the attacks but were released without charge.

Religious riots
Investigators believe the bombings were revenge for religious riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

About 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed when Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods, towns and villages in the state in 2002. The riots were triggered by a fire that killed 60 people on a train packed with Hindu pilgrims. Hindu extremists blamed the deaths on Muslims, but the cause of the blaze remains unclear.

Investigators had said all three were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned Pakistan-based militant group formed in the 1980s — with the alleged blessing of Pakistani intelligence officials — to sow trouble in the disputed Kashmir region. The three denied involvement with the group.

Indian investigators also blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for attacks last year in Mumbai in which gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day rampage.

The lone surviving alleged gunman in that attack, 21-year-old Pakistani Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, is currently on trial in Mumbai. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted.

Meanwhile, Interpol said Thursday that it had issued a global alert for 13 suspects wanted by Pakistan in its investigation into the November attacks on hotels in Mumbai.

The international police organization has asked member countries to assist in tracking down the fugitives and to notify its Islamabad bureau and Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France, on potential leads.

More on: India | Lashkar-e-Taiba

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