India’s top court overrules early release of 11 in gang rape case

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - NEW DELHI, Jan 8 — India’s top court said today that 11 murderers convicted of a gang rape that drew global outrage but who were released early must return to jail.

Bilkis Bano and two of her children were the only survivors among a group of Muslims attacked by a Hindu mob in the western state of Gujarat in 2002 during one of post-independence India’s worst religious riots.

Bilkis was pregnant at the time and seven of the 14 people murdered were relatives, including her three-year-old daughter.

The 11 convicts were freed in August 2022 following a recommendation by a state government panel, but must now return to jail within two weeks, the court in New Delhi ruled.

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“Their plea for protection of their liberty is rejected,” the Supreme Court ruled today.

“To keep them out would not be in consonance of the rule of law,” it said, adding that “arguments with emotional appeal become hollow when placed in juxtaposition with the facts of the case”.

The 2002 attack took place when current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Gujarat state premier. — AFP

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