The Thalassery additional district sessions court on Friday sentenced nine Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers to life in prison after they were found guilty in a murder case of a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker, The Hindu reported. The incident occurred in 2004 inside the Kannur Central Prison and was touted as the first “political murder” in the state.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the nine who were found guilty. The accused are Pavithran, Falgunan, KP Raghu, Suni, Sanal Prasad, PK Dineshan, Anilkumar, Sasi, and PV Ashokan. Twenty-two other accused in the case were acquitted.

In April 2004, 40-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker Raveendran had been killed during a clash between two groups of inmates inside the jail. Raveendran was serving a life term in the murder of an RSS worker at the time, according to The Times of India. The Communist party had alleged that the murder was planned and the clashes were part of a conspiracy.

There were 31 accused in the case with 20 serving life terms and 11 remand prisoners. One of the accused is still on the run. There were 71 witnesses in total, including jail authorities.