A Delhi court here on Friday sentenced five men to life in prison for the gang-rape of a Danish tourist in 2014. The five convicts who were charged with gang-rape and other offences were penalised under the new stringent laws of the Indian Penal Code that were passed in 2013 following the hue and cry over the Nirbhaya rape in 2012.On Monday, additional sessions judge (ASJ) Ramesh Kumar at Tis Hazari district court convicted Mahender alias Ganja (27), Mohd Raja (23), Raju (24), Arjun (22) and Raju Chakka (23) of the offences under sections 376 (d) (gang rape), 395 (dacoity), 366 (kidnapping), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 51-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and robbed at knifepoint in January 2014, after losing the way to her hotel. Nine people, including three minors, were accused of the crime. One of the accused — Shyam Lal (56) — died in February in Tihar Jail and the three minors are facing proceedings before the Juvenile Justice Board.On Thursday, pleading for maximum punishment under the new stringent laws that came into force in 2013, special public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava argued that as a society, Indians believed in “Athiti devo Bhava” (The guest is equivalent to God), and it was our duty to protect them. “A message should be sent out to the society that the rule of law will prevail and wrong-doers will be dealt with an iron hand,” Srivastava argued.The prosecutor argued that a sentence should be given in proportionality of the “barbaric” crime. Elucidating his point, the prosecutor stated that in an act of self-preservation, the victim falsely stated that she was HIV positive to deter her assailants. However, her attackers paid no heed to this and raped her at knife-point.Pleading for leniency, Dinesh Sharma, defending the convicts stated that all were in their twenties and came from poor backgrounds. “Even if the minimum jail term is prescribed – the maximum is life, half their lives will have been spent behind bars. By the time they are released they will be old,” Sharma argued.The trial that began in January 2015, saw its conclusion more than a year and a half later in June 2016.
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