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Inderjit Singh Reyat's plea bargain

It was deemed the worst act of terrorism in Canadian history: 331 people were killed in two decisive and deliberate explosions — one in a Japanese airport, another aboard Air India flight 182 in 1985. For the families of the victims, most of them Canadian, this was just the beginning. Charges of investigative bungling would be followed by the more startling accusations that CSIS, Canada's security agency, intentionally initiated a coverup. For over 20 years Canadians have grappled with this unsolved crime for which no one has yet had to pay.

In six weeks Inderjit Singh Reyat is scheduled to stand on trial on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Reyat, a prime suspect in the Air India bombing, is already serving time for the Narita airport explosions. In a dramatic and unanticipated move, Reyat accepts a plea bargain and pleads guilty to manslaughter. For many of the families expecting swift punishment, his five-year sentence comes as a shock. "Some plea bargains are the Boxing Day sales of Canadian justice," says the CBC's Rex Murphy.
• Mandeep Cheema, who lost his father on Air India flight 182, expressed his disappointment to CBC News. "No person that has lost a family member in the plane will agree to this, will be satisfied with five years," he said.

• In 2003 Reyat testified at the trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri. He was called as a witness for the prosecution but claimed that he couldn't remember anything about the conspirators. The Crown moved to treat him as a hostile witness and called his testimony "a pack of lies." The Crown's move was denied.

• Reyat was granted bail by a British Columbia appeal court on July 9, 2008, after serving more than 20 years for his role in the bombing. He served more than 20 years for his role in the bombings, but also faced charges of perjury for his testimony that led to the acquittal of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 11, 2003
Commentator: Rex Murphy
Duration: 3:57

Last updated: January 24, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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