A Kashmiri man convicted in a 2001 attack on India's Parliament that left 14 people dead was hanged today after a final mercy plea was rejected. Mohammed Afzal Guru had been on death row since 2002, but 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. Protests broke out today in at least four parts of Indian Kashmir over the high-profile execution, including the northwestern town of Sopore, which was Guru's home. Amnesty International and other groups have charged that Guru did not get a fair trial.
On Dec. 13, 2001, five gunmen entered the compound of India's Parliament and opened fire. A gunbattle with security officers ensued and 14 people, including the gunmen, were killed. India blamed the Pakistan-based militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. The attack led to heightened tensions between India and Pakistan and brought the neighbors to the brink of war, but tensions eased after intense diplomatic pressure. Guru confessed in TV interviews that he helped plot the attack, but later denied any involvement and said he was tortured into confessing.