Trio face death for rape and murder in West Bengal

An Indian court has sentenced three men to the death penalty for raping and killing a woman aged 20 in a case that sparked massive protests against the state government of West Bengal and led to calls for greater safety for women.

Three other men involved in the attack in 2013 were sentenced to life imprisonment, while two of the nine men charged were acquitted due to lack of evidence, and one died in jail.

“We are happy with the verdict and sentencing,” said the brother of the victim after the sentencing was announced by judge Sanchita Sarkar of the Bankshall Court in Kolkata.

Public prosecutor Anindya Rout said: “This a rarest of rare case, owing to the brutality inflicted on the victim. So the death penalty is justified.”

Rout said they would appeal the acquittal of two of the accused.

The rape and murder of the college student in Kamduni village in the eastern state of West Bengal was shocking in its brutality, and reminiscent of the fatal gang rape of a woman aged 23 on a moving bus in Delhi a year earlier.

That case turned a global spotlight on the treatment of women in India, where police say a rape is reported every 20 minutes.

India has since introduced tougher laws against sex crimes, and lowered the age at which someone can be tried for rape and other crimes, from 18 to 16 years.


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