They got the wrong guy. Geelani admitted to knowing Guruthe two used to say prayers together in their native Kashmirbut denied any role in the attack on parliament. Nonetheless, in December 2002, a special court trying terrorism cases sentenced him to death, along with Guru and Afzal. But last week Geelani, 41, was set free by a New Delhi appeals court, which said the evidence did "not even remotely" point toward his guilt. Human-rights activists were unsurprised, saying the government has used draconian anti-terrorism laws to harass Muslims and other minorities for years.
The most audacious terrorist strike on Indian soil occurred on Dec. 13, 2001, when five men with automatic weapons and explosives entered the grounds of the Indian Parliament building intending to blow up the country's political leadership. All five died in a shootout, and when police searched the terrorists' bodies, they found a phone number, which led them to two fellow plotters, Shaukat Hussain Guru and Mohammed Afzal. Checking their captives' cell phones, the police dug up one more number, which belonged to Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani, a professor of Arabic. Two days after the attack Geelani was arrested outside his house.