KATHMANDU, Aug 20: Patan High Court on Monday upheld a lower court verdict slapping 10-year jail terms on all three accused in the notorious Godamchaur rape case. The case concerned a married woman who was raped, brutally assaulted and robbed while she was on her way home.
A division bench of High Court Judges Ramesh Bahadur Thapa and Yagyaraj Bhatta upheld the 10-year jail terms slapped on Raghu Silwal, Pawan Kunwrar and Bishaldhwaj Karki by Lalitpur District Court.
The district court had sentenced the three back in March after convicting them of raping and assaulting a 21-year-old woman and then leaving her for dead, in the Godamchaur area of Lalitpur district.
Separate cases for rape, attempted murder and robbery were filed against all three of the accused. The District Court slapped 10 years jail for the rape and Rs 300,000 in compensation for the victim. The court also slapped 10 years jail for attempted murder and 60 days in jail and Rs 3,000 in fines for stealing money and other belongings from the rape victim.
Under existing law, someone convicted of multiple crimes serves a sentence only for the crime attracting the highest sentence. The Godamchaur three will therefore serve a maximum of 10 years in jail although the three separate crimes would earn them each a total of 20 years and two months in jail.
The case had drawn the attention of the entire nation. The victim was abducted while on her way home from work on November 18, 2017. A married woman, she went missing at around 7 pm and was found in a critical condition next morning. After the rape, the culprits had struck her with a stone and left her for dead.
The three were arrested only two months ago following media exposure of how police had declined to file any case against them and how the victim’s family was unable to speak up because of continuous threats made against them.
Money and political power were apparently at work in the case and a single bench of Lalitpur District Chief Judge Balmukunda Dawadi on January 10 ordered the release without any bail of all three arrested.
The case was reopened by the Judicial Council after a series of critical media reports.