Indian court commutes death sentences in rape case

Published November 26, 2021
Social activists hold a poster with their mouths covered as they protest against the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinary in Hyderabad, India on November 30, 2019. — AFP/File
Social activists hold a poster with their mouths covered as they protest against the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinary in Hyderabad, India on November 30, 2019. — AFP/File

MUMBAI: Mumbai’s top court on Thursday commuted the death sentences of three men convicted in a rape case that heightened public outrage over women’s safety in India.

The assault in 2013 followed another high-profile gang-rape case the previous year that left a woman dead in New Delhi, sparking nationwide protests resulting in tougher anti-rape laws.

The three men in Mumbai, along with two accomplices, trapped and repeatedly raped a 22-year-old photojournalist while she was on assignment at an abandoned factory compound.

The Shakti Mills complex stands next to a fashionable area of apartments, office blocks, shops and restaurants in India’s financial centre.

The attack dismayed residents of Mumbai, a metropolis considered far safer for women than the capital New Delhi, sparking protests in the city and uproar in the national parliament. Mumbai police arrested all five within a week of the incident.

It prompted a 19-year-old telephone operator to come forward and accuse the trio of also raping her in the same place a month earlier, along with two different accomplices.

All seven accused — two of them juveniles — were convicted over the two rapes.

The 2012 New Delhi case prompted a change in the law to make repeat rapists eligible for the death penalty.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2021

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