VANCOUVER — Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only person who ever served time for involvement in the 1985 Air India and Narita Airport bombings, has been granted a statutory release from his perjury sentence.
Reyat was charged with perjury in 2006 for allegedly misleading the court when he testified in the 2004-05 Air India trial. He was found guilty in 2010 and was sentenced to nine years in prison — the longest prison sentence for perjury in Canadian history.
A Parole Board of Canada decision obtained by Global News states Reyat has been granted a statutory release. Under the Corrections and Conditional Releases Act, offenders must be released on statutory release if they have served two thirds of their sentence; they serve the rest of their sentence in the community.
His release is not without conditions. Reyat must avoid certain persons, participating in political activities, not have any contact with the victim’s families, possess any components that could be used to build an explosive device or possess extremist propaganda. He has to reside at a specified location, participate in counselling and report to his parole officer.
In its decision, the Parole Board of Canada said Reyat has acknowledged his offences were a result of his association with individuals prepared to use extreme violence in support of religious beliefs, but the documents also describe his shift to accepting responsibility as “only partial and relatively recent”.
For the victims, the release opens old wounds. Dr Bal Gupta lost his wife in the bombing. He expressed grief at Reyat’s early release.
“He will be with his family, children or wife…but for the [victim] families, it is a life-long punishment,” Gupta said.
Last year, families gathered around Stanley Park memorial to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bombings.
Air India Flight 182 exploded mid-air off the coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board. It had been flying from Montreal to New Delhi. A second bomb went off at Japan’s Narita International Airport, near Tokyo, killing two baggage handlers and injuring four others.
A 2010 federal commission found “a cascading series of errors” by police and intelligence officers allowed the attack to take place. But, RCMP says its investigation into the Air India bombing remains active and ongoing.
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