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Harper launches Air India inquiry
May 1 2006 06:41 PM PDT
The Conservative government has launched an inquiry into the
investigation of the Air India bombing, Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Harper said his government decided on the terms of reference for the
inquiry after retired Supreme Court Judge John Major, who will lead the
probe, consulted with family members of some of the victims.
"It is about finding answers to several key questions about the worst
mass murder in Canadian history," Harper said in the House of Commons.
The government hopes the investigation brings "a measure of closure to
those who still grieve for their loved ones," he said.
Harper has long supported a full judicial inquiry into the investigation
and prosecution in the bomb, which killed 329 people when it blew up
aboard Air India Flight 182 when as it was travelling off the coast of
Ireland in June 1985.
Weeks after winning the Jan. 23 parliamentary election, Harper asked
Major to meet with the victims' families.
Flight 182 originated in Vancouver, stopped in Toronto and was en route to India via London when the bomb went off.
A second, linked bomb – which was planted in a suitcase on another
Air India flight in the same day – killed two baggage handlers
when it exploded at Japan's Narita airport.
The call for an inquiry became more heated when two men who had been
charged in the bombings were set free after a lengthy trial found them
Two B.C. men – Ripudaman Singh Malik of Vancouver and Ajaib Singh Bagri of Kamloops –
acquitted in March 2005, after a judge ruled that the Crown's case
against them was too weak.
Only one person has ever been convicted in the attacks – Inderjit
Singh Reyat. He was sentenced to five years in 2003 after being
convicted of manslaughter and with assisting in the construction of the
Reyat had a court appearance Monday for allegedly lying at the Air India
trial. He appeared in a B.C. courtroom via videolink on charges he lied
during Malik and Bagri's trial.
In November 2005, the then-Liberal government accepted Bob Rae's
recommendation to hold a focused inquiry into the Air India
investigation and prosecution. The former Ontario premier, now a Liberal
leadership candidate, had been asked to advise the government on the
Rae recommended the inquiry focus on:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the
House of Commons on Monday. (CBC)
- Whether the assessment
that the bombings were linked to Sikh militants – who wished to
create an independent homeland – was adequate in light of
- Whether the RCMP and the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service co-operated adequately in the
- The relationship between intelligence gathered
and evidence presented at trial.
- Any breaches of airport
security and if those issues have been addressed.
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