India court orders first death sentences for multiple rapes

MUMBAI: An Indian judge on Friday ordered three men to hang after they were convicted of two gang-rapes, the first death sentences to be handed down for multiple sex attacks since the law was toughened last year.

The sentences were announced at a court in Mumbai for the two attacks in July and August last year at the same abandoned mill compound in the city, including an attack on a photographer that made global headlines.

Mohammed Salim Ansari, 28, Vijay Mohan Jadhav, 19, and Mohammed Kasim Hafeez Shaikh, 21 were convicted last month after a fast-track trial.

They were subsequently handed life sentences for one of those assaults, the gang-rape of an 18-year-old phone operator.

But they were also convicted this week under a new section of the law for being repeat rape offenders, which carries the death penalty.

“There needs to be zero tolerance for such incidents,” Judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said as she announced the sentences.

“A loud and clear message needs to be sent to society.”

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam confirmed to AFP that this was the first such conviction under the modified law.



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