SC slaps 11 and half-year jail on rapists

Published On: November 19, 2019 08:06 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 19: The Supreme Court on Monday slapped 11 and half-year jail terms on the rapists of Pooja Bohara, a minor at the time of the crime.

A division bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Hari Prasad Phuyal slapped the jail terms on Sagar Bhatta and Amar Awasthi for the rape of the 14-year-old .

Following sentencing hearings, the bench on Monday also directed the provision of compensation of Rs 1 million—including 500,000 from the rapists and the same amount from the government -- considering the physical and mental harm inflicted on the victim. The verdict comes eight years after the crime.

The bench stated that the punishment was determined according to the Sentence Determination Act, 2017 .

The bench directed the prosecutor to freeze the property of the perpetrators pending execution of the verdict and to make a submission on the actual situation of the victim after a thorough analysis.

Justices Malla and Phuyal overturned the verdict of the then Dipayal Appellate Court that had acquitted the two accused. The government had filed an appeal at the apex court, which last year reopened the case.

The rape took place on March 20, 2012. The incident only came to light after the victim, who suffered mental illness following the rape, made a recovery.

Police had arrested the accused amid pressure from media, civil society and student organizations.

The case had originated at Baitadi District Court and District Judge Himal Pathak had slapped 13 years jail and a fine of Rs 50,000 on the accused . But the latter went to the Appellate Court Dipayal .

The case took a new turn when a division bench of Judges Nar Bahadur Shahi and Ramesh Prasad Rajbhandari at the appellate court acquitted the accused, stating that the trial court did not properly evaluate the evidence.

The court's decision was criticized in several quarters . Judge Shahi was recently sacked by the Judicial Council for breaching the code of conduct in relation to a separate case.

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