A man found guilty of the 2016 rape and murder of a law student was sentenced to death on Thursday by a court in India's Kerala state, a prosecution lawyer said.
The 30-year-old victim - who only went by one name, Jisha, as is common among her Dalit caste - was found dead by her mother at their home in Ernakulam district on April 28, 2016, with signs of strangulation and more than 30 stab wounds on her body.
The Ernakulam Principal Session Court handed down the death sentence to Ameerul Islam for Jisha's rape and murder, prosecution lawyer NK Unnikrishnan said. Islam is a migrant labourer from north-eastern Assam state.
"This was a brutal murder that shocked the conscience of Kerala. We are happy that we managed to get the harshest punishment awarded to him by the court," Unnikrishnan said
Under India's legal system, the convict can challenge both his conviction and sentence in a higher court.
The police were accused of botching the investigation. The case triggered an intense debate in Kerala about the safety of women, especially Dalit women.
Thursday's sentencing comes just days before the fifth anniversary of the gang rape of another young female student in the Indian capital in 2012, which led to widespread public outrage and strengthening of laws against sexual assault.
One in four rape cases in India ended in conviction in 2016, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data, the lowest rate since 2012. Activists ascribe this largely to shoddy police investigations.
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