11 sentenced to life in India rape case
Jan 21,2008 00:00 by UPI

MUMBAI - An Indian court Monday gave life sentences to 11 of the 12 men convicted in a gang-rape case stemming from the 2002 communal violence in western Gujarat state.

The special court in Mumbai sentenced the 12th man, a police officer, to three year's rigorous imprisonment for allegedly shielding the other accused, the Press Trust of India reported.

The 12 were convicted last week, while seven other accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Another accused died during the trial proceedings, the report said.

The western Gujarat state exploded in 2002 in communal riots in which at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died. The riots followed the torching of a train in February of that year in which dozens of Hindus were killed.

The charges against the 12 said the rape victim, who was six months pregnant, was gang raped during the riots. She was a key witness in the killings and rape of her family members and others.

Other reports said India's supreme court handed the case to federal authorities and moved it to Mumbai, formerly Bombay, after saying the state government in Gujarat, ruled by Hindu national BJP party, had done little to bring the accused to justice.

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