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Death sentence for Mumbai attackers – six years later

A court ruled Thursday on the case of a 2003 double bombing, but the case may continue with appeals. Experts say Indian justice moves so slowly it hampers counterterrorism.

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Before last year's shootout at its luxury hotels, before the attacks on rush-hour commuter trains, Mumbai lost 52 residents to a double bombing in 2003. On Thursday, nearly six years on, an Indian court sentenced to death three perpetrators in that attack.

That's simply too long for terrorism trials, argue Indian security experts. They say the notoriously slow wheels of Indian justice are hampering the nation's counterterrorism efforts and point to wider inabilities to address such attacks.

"It does harm the country's counterterrorism efforts because you see these interminable delays and extremely activist courts intervening aggressively whenever the security forces are put under any kind of accusations of abuse," says Ajai Sahni, head of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi. "If a case takes five, 10 years, no psychological link exists between the crime and the punishment."

Six years and counting: case may drag on

The case of another bombing in 1993 took 14 years to conclude. And Thursday's ruling may not mark the end of this case.

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