Ernakulum, Kerala: A 23-year-old migrant labourer from Assam convicted of raping and murdering law student Jisha in April last year has been given a death sentence by a court in Kerala's Ernakulam district today. The death penalty will, however, be subject to confirmation by the Kerala High Court.
Ameer-ul-Islam was convicted of murder, rape, wrongful confinement and trespassing on Tuesday. During his conviction, he had repeated thrice, "I am innocent, the police just arrested me and took me away".
"Besides the death sentence for murder, Ameer has also been given 10 years imprisonment and life imprisonment for rape and inserting sharp objects into a woman's body," BA Aloor, the convict's lawyer said.
Talking to the media, Jisha's mother Rajeshwari said, "I was expecting this judgement and I have got justice. But I want to see him once the way I saw my daughter, dead."
Jisha was raped before Ameer murdered her at her home in Ernakulam. Her naked body bore marks of extreme torture. Her mother shuddered to see wounds from sharp objects all over her body and her intestines pulled out, a gruesome reminder of the fatal gang-rape and torture of Nirbhaya inside a moving bus in Delhi in 2012.
About 42 days after the murder, the police arrested Ameer-ul-Islam, a neighbour, and said he entered Jisha's house to rape her but killed her with a sharp object when she resisted.
Kerala's most senior police officer told NDTV that the entire investigation was based on circumstantial evidence as there were no eyewitnesses. "But we ensured we carried it out in the most scientific manner, with all possible tests including DNA tests," DGP Loknath Behra said.
In the assembly polls last year, political parties attacked the then Congress-led United Democratic Front regime over what they called a slow investigation. "Since the time I took over, there was no political interference. We just did our job in the best possible manner and the court has decided," Mr Behara said. The Left Democratic Front, after taking charge on May 25, changed the investigation team. As many as 100 witnesses were examined during the trial. The prosecution described it as a rarest of rare case.