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Death Sentences For Delhi Rapists Upheld

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Death Sentences For Delhi Rapists Upheld

Death Sentences For Delhi Rapists Upheld

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday upheld the death sentences awarded to four convicts in the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape, saying that their “barbaric” act is “not worthy of human condonation” and society cannot be a a spectator to “such depraved behaviour”.

A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani also dismissed the appeals of the four convicts – Mukesh, 26; Akshay Thakur, 28; Pawan Gupta, 19; and Vinay Sharma, 20 – challenging the Sep 13, 2013 trial court verdict sentencing them to death.

The court said the barbarity with which the victim’s internal organs were “pulled out with bare hands coupled with the twisting of iron rods through every orifice in her body exhibits outlandish mental perversion not worthy of human condonation”.

“To expect society to be a sanguine spectator to this kind of depraved behaviour of the outlandish variety and to continue to extend its protective arm to the convicts would be both unnatural and ludicrous,” said the court in its 340-page verdict.

Holding that the offence was committed in an “extremely fiendish, demoniac, barbaric and nefarious manner”, it noted that the manner in which it was committed is “demonstrative of exceptional licentiousness and perversion of a superlative degree”.

“The medical evidence charters the hellish misery and trauma inflicted upon the prosecutrix (victim) before her death,” said Justice Khetrapal.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and brutally sexually assaulted by six men, including a juvenile, in a moving bus. The accused then threw her and her male companion out of the vehicle, stripped of clothing, to die by the roadside on the cold December night.

The woman died of grave intestinal injuries Dec 29, 2012 at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she was airlifted for specialised treatment.

The bench said that pain of an unparalleled order was also inflicted upon the victim’s family members and her companion, who were “compelled to watch her die many deaths before being certified dead”.

What made it worse was that “debauchery, avarice, profligacy and viciousness appear to be the only impelling forces behind the commission of the crime,” it said.

“… the crime was not committed to alleviate poverty or the pangs of hunger and starvation, nor were the convicts in such impecunious circumstances as is sought to be portrayed.”

“Undoubtedly they did not belong to the cream of the society, but they were neither beggars nor vagabonds nor even ruffians for whom crime is a means of self-preservation and is in fact reflective of the social injustice meted out to them,” said Justice Khetrapal.

The convicts were “usefully and gainfully employed and were not expected to stoop so low in their lust for money and in order to satiate their egregious sexual appetite”, she added.

Justice Pratibha Rani said the victims had reposed complete confidence in the occupants of the contract bus while boarding it to reach their destination but this was “misused”.

The court also said that the shocking incident left an “indelible scar on the social order” and became a burning societal issue which crossed national borders.

Citing medical evidence like the post-mortem report, the court said it depicted “satantic beastliness” in the convicts, who did not stop at torture and even attempted to run them over with the bus so as to eliminate evidence and witnesses.

“Their conscience unpricked by the gruesome crime and the infernal torture inflicted by them, they coolly proceeded to divide the looted articles amongst themselves, to wash the bus which was stained with the blood of the victims,” it said, adding that the instant case without doubt falls in the “rarest of rare cases” category where culpability assumes proportion of extreme depravity.

Holding the incident to be “completely revolting, gruesome and spine-chilling”, the bench said: “We conclude by stating the obvious that a strong message needs to be sent to the perpetrators of grotesque and ghastly crimes against women that such crimes shall not be countenanced, though we confess that we are not aware of any case in which a crime of such dimensions has been committed hitherto before”.

“… if the rising trend towards such crime is not nipped in the bud and arrested at its inception, the poison is likely to spread like wildfire through the social order, rendering it hapless and defunct”.

“Exemplary punishment is, therefore, the need of the hour, for if this is not the rarest of rare cases, there is likely to be none,” it said.

One of the six accused was found dead in a cell in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. A juvenile involved in the crime was Aug 31, 2013 sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years, the maximum term for a juvenile under the law.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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