Aftab Ansari seeks political prisoner status

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 25, 2012 16:16 hrs

Kolkata: Terror convict Aftab Ansari, now on death row for masterminding the American Center attack here 10 years ago, has sought a political prisoner's status, a jail official said Sunday.

Ansari, lodged in the Alipore Central Jail, sent the application Nov 23.

"We received his application seeking political prisoner status Nov 23. It is addressed to the inspector general of state prisons. We have forwarded the letter to the inspector general," the jail official told IANS.

Inpector General (Prisons) Ranvir Kumar said: "He may have sent it to the jail authorities. But I am yet to receive the application."

Ansari based his argument on the petitions submitted by seven Maoists to the Calcutta High Court earlier this year seeking political prisoner status. The court granted them the status in August.

Ansari argued that like the Maoists, he too had been convicted for "waging war against the state", an official said.

On Jan 22, 2002, terrorists fired indiscriminately at security men guarding the American Center, killing five policemen and injuring several others.

The attack was carried out to avenge the death of Asif Raza Khan, an associate of Aftab Ansari, who was killed by Gujarat Police the year before.

Ansari was arrested from Dubai thereafter and deported to India Feb 9, 2002 to face trial. Ansari and co−accused Jamiluddin Nasir were sentenced to death by the trial court in April 2005 and the judgment was subsequently upheld by the high court in February 2010. However, the death sentences were stayed by the Supreme Court in May 2010.

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