|In this Dec. 18, 2002 file photo, Mohammed Afzal Guru, center left wearing red, Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani, center, and Shaukat Hussain Guru, center right, are brought out of court after being sentenced to death for aiding the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, India. Afzal has been hanged in an Indian prison, a senior Indian Home Ministry official said Saturday. Government prosecutors had said Guru was a member of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, a charge he denied. (AP-Yonhap)|
NEW DELHI (AP) _ A Kashmiri man convicted in the 2001 attack on India's Parliament has been hanged in an Indian prison after a final mercy plea was rejected, a senior Indian Home Ministry official said Saturday.
Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters that Mohammed Afzal Guru was executed early Saturday morning in New Delhi's Tihar prison.
``It was the law taking its course,'' Singh said.
Afzal Guru has been on death row since first being convicted in 2002. Subsequent appeals in higher courts were also rejected and India's Supreme Court set an execution date for October 2006. However, his execution was delayed after his wife filed a mercy petition with India's president. That petition, the last step in the judicial process, was turned down earlier this week.
Several rights groups including political groups in Indian Kashmir have said that Guru did not get a fair trial.
Guru confessed in TV interviews that he helped plot the attack that killed 14, including all five attackers. He later denied any involvement and said he was tortured into confessing.
Government prosecutors have said that Guru was a member of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, a charge Guru denied.
On Saturday, thousands of police and paramilitary troops fanned out across Indian Kashmir preparing for any protests and violence that might break out following the announcement of the execution. A curfew was also imposed in the Himalayan state.
When Guru's death sentence was handed down by India's Supreme Court it sparked protests in Kashmir and the state government has warned that his execution could destabilize the volatile Himalayan region.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-majority Pakistan but is claimed by both nations.
Since 1989, an armed uprising in Indian-controlled Kashmir and an ensuing crackdown have killed an estimated 68,000 people, mostly civilians.
Guru's execution was carried out in secrecy similar to the execution in November of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.