Two sentenced in Germany for exporting launcher parts to India

June 27th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Dortmund (Germany), June 27 (DPA) Two businessmen received prison terms in Germany Friday for selling missile-launcher parts to India at the end of the 1990s in breach of German arms export laws. Judges ruled that they knew the precision hydraulic cylinders they sold would be used to aim the missile launchers.

The elder of the accused, aged 64, was jailed for 46 months and his 55-year-old cousin for 28 months at the end of an 18-month trial in the western city of Dortmund. Both are to remain free on bail till decisions are made whether or not to appeal.

The parts were exported by a hydraulic-technology company, based near Unna in western Germany, having business links with India.

The sale did not have the government clearance required under German law for any arms-related exports to zones of conflict. At that time Berlin was concerned that armed conflict might erupt between India and Pakistan.

At the trial, both accused denied guilt and insisted the cylinders were intended for bridge-building vehicles.

Judges ruled that because of the lengthy time the two men had spent appearing in court in the city of Dortmund, the actual time served in jail should be 6 months less than the sentences pronounced by the court.

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