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Monday, February 19, 2007

Canada judge halts Air India bombing inquiry pending documents disclosure
Brett Murphy at 2:02 PM ET

[JURIST] Former Canadian Supreme Court Justice John Major [official profile] temporarily closed proceedings on the 1985 Air India bombing [CBC backgrounder] investigation on Monday until certain documents are publicly released. Major said he cannot carry out the probe without particular documents from the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) [official websites], but the Canadian government maintains the evidence must be kept confidential for security reasons. In response, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] told the RCMP and CSIS to use a "non-restrictive interpretation of the law" when deciding to release evidence to Major's inquiry.

The 1985 bombing which down an Air India jetliner over the Atlantic with the loss of all 329 passengers, most of the them Canadians, was the largest single modern terror attack against a Western target before September 11, 2001, and resulted in the longest and most expensive trial in Canadian history. Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Sing Bagri were tried on charges [indictment, PDF] of conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder of the passengers and crew of Air India Flight 182, and attempted murder of the passengers and crew. However, the suspects were acquitted on all charges [JURIST report] in 2005. The judicial inquiry [JURIST report], led by Major, began [JURIST report] in June 2006 to further investigate the bombing. CBC News has more.

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