Sikh gets lifer for Vienna gurudwara attack
An Indian Sikh was jailed for life by a Vienna court today in connection with an attack last year on a gurduwara in which a guru died. Meanwhile, four of his five accomplices received jail terms of 17 to 18 years for complicity in murder and wounding, while the fifth was given a six-month sentence.world Updated: Sep 28, 2010 13:10 IST
An Indian Sikh was jailed for life by a Vienna court on Tuesday in connection with an attack last year on a gurdwara in which a guru died.
The 35-year-old man was accused of murder and two counts of attempted murder. His lawyer immediately said he would appeal.
Four of his five accomplices aged between 29 and 46 received jail terms of 17 to 18 years for complicity in murder and wounding, while the fifth was given a six-month sentence.
Sant Rama Nand, 57, and another guru, Sant Niranjan Dass, 68, were visiting from India when they were attacked as they gave a sermon at the temple in Vienna on May 24, 2009.
Nand died and Dass was wounded after being hit by two bullets in the abdomen and the hip, while another 16 people were also injured in a melee as worshippers tried to subdue the attackers.
The assailants used a gun and knives in the attack, which sparked riots in Punjab.
Before the ruling the main accused told the court he remembered nothing about the attack. He had been seriously wounded in the head after the attack and psychiatrists said his memory lapses were "credible."
The temple at Pelzgasse, where the attack occurred, said it had received threats from another Viennese Sikh temple in connection with the visit by the two Indian gurus.
Opened in December 2005, it has protested the caste system that remains popular among some Sikhs and has been accused of not strictly following Sikh traditions.