Man Convicted in Canada's Deadliest Mass Killing Is Free
Air India bomb maker Inderjit Singh Reyat granted parole
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2017 9:05 AM CST
Inderjit Singh Reyat waits outside the BC Supreme Court in 2010.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

(Newser) – After two decades behind bars and a year in a halfway house, the only person ever convicted in the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 is free in Canada. Inderjit Singh Reyat, an Indian immigrant and former member of an extremist group fighting for an independent Sikh homeland, was convicted of building two bombs placed on flights departing Vancouver on June 23, 1985. One, hidden in a suitcase on Air India Flight 182, exploded mid-flight, killing all 329 people on board, reports CBC News. The second detonated at Japan's Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers. Reyat pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Canada's worst mass murder. Two others were acquitted, though prosecutors argued that was only because Reyat lied in court to protect them, per AFP.

Since Reyat was released into a halfway house last January, there has been no sign of contact with extremists or his co-accused, a Parole Board of Canada rep said Wednesday in explaining the decision to allow Reyat to "go back to a normal life." However, the board found Reyat would be at a high risk for group-based violence if ever there was a threat to his "Sikh cause." That, combined with a 2013 psychologist's report that found Reyat showed "a lack of true empathy and remorse," has left many dumbfounded by his release. As one terrorism expert at Simon Fraser University puts it, "You have to wonder what the parole board is smoking." Reyat will remain under close observation until August 2018, reports the Globe and Mail.

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