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13 Sentenced for Killing Missionary, His 2 Sons

September 27, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

NEW DELHI, India — An Indian court sentenced one man to death and 12 others to life in prison this week for the 1999 murders of an Australian Christian missionary and his two sons.

Judge Mahendra Nath Patnaik ordered capital punishment for Dara Singh, the chief defendant, in a packed courtroom in the northern Indian state of Orissa. In January 1999, Australian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 8, were burned alive by a mob as they slept outside a church in Manoharpur, a tribal village in Orissa.

The murders were part of a series of attacks against Christian institutions and missionaries in India for which right-wing Hindus were blamed.

The death sentence of Singh, 42, is subject to approval by the Orissa High Court. All 13 defendants are expected to appeal their convictions.

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