India: Top court to hear petition after gang-rape convicts released

The men were released in consideration of the time they served after their conviction in 2008

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By Reuters

Published: Tue 23 Aug 2022, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Aug 2022, 2:10 PM

India's Supreme Court will hold a hearing on a petition challenging the release last week of 11 men convicted of gang-raping a pregnant woman during riots in 2002 in the western state of Gujarat.

Last Monday, authorities in the Panchmahals district of Gujarat released the men after considering the time they had served after their conviction in 2008 and their behaviour while jailed. However, critics contend that their discharge contradicts the government's stated policy of uplifting women in a country with numerous, well-documented instances of violence against them.

The Court verbally agreed on Tuesday to hear a Public Interest Litigation petition to reverse the state's remission order freeing the men, Kapal Sibal, an attorney representing a group of women seeking the reversal, told Reuters.

The women include Subhashini Ali, an Indian politician and member of the Communist Party of India, Revati Laul, an independent journalist, and Mahua Moitra, a member of parliament form the opposition Trinamool Congress Party, Sibal said.

The petition holds that the men must serve their full life sentences.

The violence in Gujarat in 2002 was one of India's worst riots and more than 1,000 people died.

During the riots, the 11 men gang-raped a pregnant woman and her three-year-old daughter was among those 14 killed by a mob.

The rape victim's husband, Bilkis Yakoob Rasool, earlier said the courts and the government did not tell them the convicted men would be released and that it had shaken his faith in justice.


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