INDIA – Nirbhaya case: Four Indian men executed

Nirbhaya case: Four Indian men executed for 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder

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Media captionDelhi Nirbhaya rape death penalty: How the case galvanised India

Four Indian men convicted of the gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi in 2012 have been hanged.

Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh were sentenced to death by a trial court in 2013.

The four were hanged in the capital’s high-security Tihar prison in the first executions in India since 2015.

The victim died from her injuries days after being raped by six men on a moving bus. The incident caused outrage and led to new anti-rape laws in India.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was dubbed Nirbhaya – the fearless one – by the press as she could not be named under Indian law.

Six people were arrested for the attack. One of them, Ram Singh, was found dead in jail in March 2013, having apparently taken his own life.

Another, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was released in 2015 after serving three years in a reform facility – the maximum term possible for a juvenile in India.

In the last few months, all four convicts filed petitions in the Supreme Court in a bid to reduce their sentences to life imprisonment. But the top court rejected their petitions, leaving the men with no other legal recourse. A last-minute appeal to have the death penalties commuted was also rejected hours before the executions.

Minutes after the convicts were hanged on Friday morning, the victim’s mother said, “I hugged my daughter’s photograph and told her we finally got justice.”

Image copyright Delhi police
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Image caption The four men had pleaded not guilty

Her father said that his “faith in the judiciary had been restored”.

Security was tight outside the prison with a large number of police and paramilitary personnel deployed to maintain law and order.

A group of people carrying placards had gathered outside the prison gates and began celebrating after the executions were announced.

Some chanted “death to rapists” and waved posters thanking the judiciary.

What happened to Nirbhaya?

The student boarded an off-duty bus at around 20:30 local time on 16 December 2012 with a male friend. They were returning home after watching a film at an upscale mall.

The six men, who were already on board, attacked the couple, taking turns to rape the woman, before brutally assaulting her with an iron rod. Her friend was beaten.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police checking the bus in which the student was raped

They were then thrown out onto the roadside to die. Some passers-by found them naked and bloodied and called the police.

Two weeks later – after widespread protests that demanded India to reckon with its treatment of women – the victim died in a hospital in Singapore, where she was taken for further treatment after her condition deteriorated in a Delhi hospital.


Has India become safer for women?

Geeta Pandey, BBC News, Delhi

A short answer to that question would be: No.

And that’s because despite the increased scrutiny of crimes against women since December 2012, similar violent incidents have continued to make headlines in India.

And statistics tell only a part of the story – campaigners say thousands of rapes and cases of sexual assault are not even reported to the police.

I personally know women who have never reported being assaulted because they are ashamed, or because of the stigma associated with sexual crimes, or because they are afraid that they will not be believed.

Some say strict punishment, swiftly delivered, will instil a fear of the law in the public mind and deter rape, but experts say the only permanent solution to the problem is to dismantle the hold of patriarchal thinking, the mindset that regards women as being a man’s property.

Until that happens, how do women and girls in India ensure their safety?

Read the full piece here


How did India react to the crime?

“Wake up India, she’s dead,” screamed one newspaper headline, announcing her death.

The horrific crime triggered a firestorm of protests in India, in ways that had not really been seen before.

The capital came to a standstill as protesters occupied the main streets. Authorities even temporarily closed some Metro stations in a bid to stop people from gathering.

Thousands of furious protesters – mostly young women and men – still turned up at India Gate in the centre of the city, prompting police to use water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There were widespread protests in India

Protests continued in Delhi and several other cities for a fortnight, the number of days it took the victim to succumb to her injuries.

The Delhi government tried to halt rising public anger by announcing a series of measures intended to make the city safer for women: more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with dark windows or curtains.

The attack became an inflection point, galvanising a national debate on the treatment of women.

Public outrage over the crime mounted again in 2015 when the BBC broadcast a documentary called India’s Daughter which included an interview with one of the convicts who blamed the victim for what happened to her.

In India, the documentary caused a big enough stir that resulted in the film being banned. Television news channels that were supposed to broadcast the film ran a blank screen instead.

What were the new anti-rape laws that followed the incident?

Reacting to the massive protests, India announced new anti-rape laws in March 2013.

They prescribed harsher punishments for rapists and addressed new crimes, including stalking, acid throwing as well as spying on a woman when naked or circulating her pictures without her consent.

They also expanded the definition of rape to state that the absence of physical struggle didn’t equal consent.

Also, under the new laws, a repeat offender of rape or rape that causes coma could be given the death penalty.

Source: BBC, 20/3/2020

 

See earlier related posts:-

ADPAN calls on India to stop executions (Media Statement)

India – Execution of 4 on 1/2/2020 stayed by Court, now government applying to set aside stay..

India – Opposing death penalty to address the terrible and distressing prevalence of sexual violence in our community

India – Capital punishment is a politicised, unjust, barbaric form of revenge. It is anything but justice.(an opinion)

ADPAN condemns Singapore’s use of police harassment in curbing public scrutiny of the judiciary and discussions of court cases

15 March 2020

ADPAN condemns Singapore’s use of police harassment in curbing public scrutiny of the judiciary and discussions of court cases

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) stands in solidarity with Singapore’s human rights lawyer Mr M Ravi, the Chief Editor of The Online Citizen (TOC) Mr Terry Xu, TOC writer Ms Danisha Hakeem and Mr Mohan Rajangam, all of who are currently under investigation for possible contempt of Court under Section 3(1)(b) of the state’s Administration of Justice (Protection) Act.

It was reported in media articles that police, acting under the authorisation of the Attorney-General, raided the office of Mr Ravi and the home of Mr Xu, seizing their mobile devices and computers. Mr Xu was held at Cantonment Police Station for questioning by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for about 7 hours on Friday 13 March 2020.

It appears that the investigation commenced after some articles were published by The Online Citizen questioning the role of the Singapore State Court in Mr Mohan’s extradition to Malaysia. It has been reported that Mr Mohan was arrested on 21 March 2015 and extradited to Malaysia following the endorsement of a Malaysian arrest warrant by a magistrate in Singapore, for an offence that he maintains he did not commit. He reportedly spent four months in custody before being released by Malaysian authorities without charge.

ADPAN holds strong to the view that public institutions must be transparent in order to be accountable, including being open to scrutiny and review.  Public questioning or discussion regarding court cases ought not automatically be considered ‘prejudicing or interfering’ with court proceedings. Judicial officers have a duty to act independently from pressure from the public, media or the Executive.

The use of police powers that have the effect of unduly harassing individuals who publicly express their opinions or discusses such matters, including the seizure of mobile devices and computers and extended police questioning send the wrong message to the public in the exercise of legitimate dissent on government policies and actions. Rather, we strongly recommend the use of public platforms for the Government or institutions to clarify matters that impact on society including outcomes arising from the country’s justice system.

For more information:

State Court loses notes of evidence in regards to the transfer of Mohan Rajangam to Malaysian authorities – https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2020/03/04/state-court-loses-notes-of-evidence-in-regards-to-transfer-of-mohan-rajangam-to-malaysian-authorities/

TOC editor, lawyer M Ravi among 4 investigated for contempt of court – https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/toc-editor-lawyer-m-ravi-among-4-investigated-contempt-court?fbclid=IwAR1hhF8SjHFlbe_wKAXSOxCkKubhKSXVlJAdoQ6Y0Kg0NL8i3fAAViYybHI

TOC editor and lawyer being investigated for prejudicing ongoing court proceedings – https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/toc-editor-and-lawyer-being-investigated-for-prejudicing-ongoing-court

 

 

Singapore – Rights group hits out at raid on lawyer’s office by Singapore cops

The police raid on the office of lawyer M Ravi’s office raises much questions about the Right to Fair Trial. Did the police take ‘confidential information’ relating to clients – Remember a lawyer too cannot disclose or be forced to disclose certain information provided by client – the ‘solicitor-client privilege’..?
For a lawyer, acting for foreign clients, the taking of his/her passport also is wrong. Will his ability to go to Malaysia to meet/interview family members and potential witnesses be impacted…?

Singapore government and police need to clarify fast..

M. Ravi is a member of ADPAN…

Rights group hits out at raid on lawyer’s office by Singapore cops

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Lawyers for Liberty says the raid on M Ravi’s office is ‘highly prejudicial’ to the pending cases of Malaysian death row prisoners at Changi Prison. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has hit out at a Singapore police raid on the office of lawyer M Ravi, saying it is related to his vigorous defence of the rights of Malaysian death row prisoners in the republic.

It said the raid, which took place yesterday, was “highly prejudicial” to the pending cases of the Malaysians at Changi Prison.

In a statement today, LFL adviser N Surendran said Singapore police claimed to be investigating Ravi for contempt of court in relation to a case involving a Singaporean extradited from Malaysia, in which Ravi was acting as counsel.

He said Ravi’s phones and passport were seized.

Singapore rights lawyer M Ravi.

“This is an act of blatant and illegal harassment and intimidation against Ravi, who was merely doing his duty as a lawyer.

“Ravi has been the repeated target of harassment and intimidation by the Singapore government and AG ever since he took up the cases of Malaysian drug mules on death row at Changi Prison.

“For example, as recently as February, the Singapore AG threatened to take action against Ravi during a court hearing in which he represented Malaysian death row prisoners Datchinamurthy Kataiah and Gobi Avedian,” he said.

Surendran said the latest action against the human rights lawyer came ahead of the hearing of a legal challenge filed by him in the Singapore Court of Appeal on behalf of Gobi.

He said Ravi had successfully reopened the drug mule’s case on grounds of serious miscarriage of justice, and the matter was scheduled to be heard on March 27.

“Until Ravi’s intervention, Gobi was facing imminent execution as all his appeals had been disposed of.

“With yesterday’s police action and impounding of passport, it is now uncertain whether Ravi will be allowed to argue the case,” he said.

Surendran said the seizing of Ravi’s passport was “clearly aimed at making it difficult for Ravi to meet the Malaysian families of prisoners as well as instructing Malaysian solicitors”.

“We call upon the Singapore government to cease all unlawful threats, police actions and intimidation against Ravi. We further urge Singapore to respect the Malaysian death row prisoners’ right to a fair hearing of their pending cases in the Singapore courts.

“We also urge the new Malaysian government to make the necessary representations to Singapore, to preserve and protect the rights of Malaysian prisoners,” he said. – FMT News, 14/3/2020