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air india disaster

The man behind the 1985 bombing of a 747 off Cork has left prison

329 people died in the bombing. Inderjit Singh Reyat is the only person ever to be convicted of the atrocity.

AIR INDIA BOEING 747 CRASH A drifting piece of wreckage, carrying the Air India logo, is seen floating in the water off the Cork coast, 24 June 1985 AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

INDERJIT SINGH REYAT, the only person ever to be convicted for the 1985 Air India bombings, has been released from a Canadian prison after serving two decades behind bars.

A spokesman for the Parole Board of Canada confirmed Reyat’s statutory release after serving two-thirds of a nine-year sentence for his involvement in one of the deadliest airline attacks in history.

Reyat, a Sikh immigrant to Canada, previously served more than 15 years in prison for making the bombs that were stuffed into two suitcases and planted on planes leaving Vancouver.

One bomb tore apart Air India Flight 182 as it neared the Irish coast, killing all 329 people aboard, on 23 June 1985. The second exploded at Japan’s Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers as they transferred cargo.

Air India Bombing 1985 Inderjit Singh Reyat (l) and Talvinder Singh Parmar, his co-conspirator, are escorted to court in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada, 9 November 1985 AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The attack took place during an Indian crackdown on Sikhs fighting for an independent homeland, and those behind it were allegedly seeking revenge for the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by Indian troops.

Halfway house

Reyat has been ordered to live at a halfway house until August 2018 when his perjury sentence would normally expire, and abide by several conditions set by the parole board, including having no contact with victims’ families or alleged former co-conspirators, and no political activities.

He must also obtain counselling to address violent tendencies, a lack of empathy and “cognitive distortions” or what one official described as his exaggerated beliefs.

Avia Wrecks Accidents For 1985 Air India Flight 182 The first body from the disaster lands at Cork Airport, 23 June 1985 AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

“If at any time, his parole officer feels there’s a risk to the community he can return Mr Reyat to prison,” parole board spokesman Patrick Storey told AFP.

Mass murder

In 2010, Reyat was convicted of lying while testifying in the mass murder trial of alleged co-conspirators Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, who were later acquitted for a lack of evidence.

He had avoided being tried alongside the pair by pleading guilty to a lesser manslaughter charge.

Prosecutors have said the verdict in the trial of Malik and Bagri would have been different if Reyat had told the truth on the stand when called to testify about the plot, while Judge Ian Josephson called him “an unmitigated liar”.

Reyat’s nine-year perjury sentence was the longest ever handed down by a Canadian court.

© – AFP, 2016

Read: 30 years ago, the Irish navy began the search and rescue in ‘shark infested’ waters for victims of Flight 182

Read: Levi Bellfield admits killing British teen Milly Dowler

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