24 April 2015 22:34 (Last updated 24 April 2015 22:36)
Four men were convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl in the northern Kupwara district in 2007.
By Shazia Yousuf
SRINAGAR, INDIAN HELD KASHMIR
A court in Indian-held Kashmir on Friday sentenced four men to death after they were convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl in the northern Kupwara district in 2007. The District and Sessions court called it a “rarest of rare cases” to justify resorting to capital punishment. Tabinda Gani, an 8th grade student from the Langate area in northern Indian-held Kashmir, or IHK, was abducted, raped and murdered by the four convicts while she was on her way home from the school on July 7, 2007.
“It was a Friday and the schools closed early at noon for the Friday prayers. And Tabinda was passing through a less frequented stretch of road when these four people abducted her,” Ghulam Mohammad Shah, the public prosecutor told The Anadolu Agency. “When she failed to return home for a couple of hours, her family started looking for her and what they found was heartrending.”
Tabinda’s family and villagers, Shah said, found in an orchard bottles of alcohol and soft drinks and nearby a shoe belonging to Gani and then a piece of her dress.
“Then they found her naked body half buried under a small mound of earth and covered by hay. Her throat had been slit and she had been raped and brutalized,” Shah said. The police in the IHK arrested the four people sentenced Friday in August 2007. After a trial of eight years in which the statements of more than 80 witnesses were recorded, the court gave them the death penalty. While two of the convicted were locals from the same district, the other two were from India.
The courtroom, which was jam-packed with hundreds of people, saw numerous emotional outbursts when the verdict was delivered. Gani’s family broke down and hugged each other. They said that they hoped the verdict would bring closure to a painful journey and the unspeakable loss. “For the last eight years, we have waited to hear these words. But we continue to wait for the day when they will all be hanged,” Mohammad Iqbal, Gani’s brother said.
The death sentence was a first for the District and Sessions judge, Mohammad Ibrahim Wani, who told The Anadolu Agency that he hoped that it would also be his last. “It is extremely difficult to sentence someone to death. Life and death are in God’s hands alone, but I followed the law. It was the rarest of rare cases and that is why I gave them capital punishment,” Wani said. Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Source: http://www.aa.com.tr/en/world/499244--four-sentenced-to-death-in-indian-held-kashmir [last accessed 28.05.2015]