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Extend Dec 16 rape convict’s stay in observation home: Govt to HC

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Nirbhaya rape case

New Delhi: The December 16, 2012, Nirbhaya rape case’s juvenile convict’s stay in an observation home should be extended till all aspects including mental health and post-release rehabilitation plans are considered by the authorities, the government told the Delhi High Court on Monday.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was told by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain that several mandatory requirements were missing from post-release rehabilitation plan of the juvenile convict.

The bench reserved its order on Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea against the release of the “unreformed” juvenile convict. “We will consider and pass order,” said the bench after hearing the arguments of government and Swamy.

“His (juvenile) stay in observation home needs to be extended….,” ASG told the court.

The post-release follow-up action “completely missing” in the report of management committee, constituted as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules, Jain told the court. He added that the committee’s plan has nothing relating to the mental health status of the juvenile, which is a mandatory requirement under the JJB rules.
Jain told the bench that as per the order of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), the release of juvenile convict was scheduled for December 20, but “it needs to be extended”.

The juvenile, who was under 18 when arrested for brutal rape and murder of a para-medical student on December 16, 2012, was tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. He was ordered to be kept in a remand home for three years.

The court had earlier sought Intelligence Bureau (IB) report about him having been radicalised, in a sealed cover.

The IB had raised suspicion of the juvenile being radicalised after being shifted with a juvenile apprehended in connection with the Delhi High Court blast case.

Swamy in his plea asked the court to pass an order that “such unreformed juvenile not be released until it is demonstrably assured that he has reformed, ceased to be radicalised and is not a menace to the society”.

A trial court had awarded death penalty to four rapists (of the Nirbhaya rape case) which was upheld by the high court. Out of the six convicts, one was found dead in Tihar Jail and the juvenile was sent to reform home.

The appeals for four convicts are pending before the Supreme Court.(IANS)

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“We Can Make Difference By Rendering Services To The Women And Children” All-female Legal Group Fights In Sierra Leone

Most of the time the children, the women, are not aware of the signs and symptoms. They’re not aware of anything until it had fully happened, so the conversation has to start from the bottom up.”

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Sierra Leone
Fatmata Sorie, president of Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (LAWYERS), is pictured in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019. Pixabay

In Sierra Leone, cases involving the abuse of women have rarely been prosecuted. Spousal abusers, child abusers and even rapists have, too often, walked free.

A group of lawyers and judges — all of them female — has decided to take action to change that.

“We’ve seen a lot of issues affecting our women and girls in our society, and we believe that, with the expertise that we have, we can make a difference by rendering services to the women and children who need it most,” said Fatmata Sorie, an attorney and president of the group Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social justice (LAWYERS).

The group was founded 22 years ago and offers pro bono legal work to those in need. One of the founding members was Patricia Kabbah, a former first lady of Sierra Leone and a lawyer herself.

LAWYERS has about 50 members, and Sorie says they discourage out-of-court settlements in rape cases, preferring to prosecute attackers to the full extent of the law. They also prosecute accessories to the crime. The group conducts outreach to families, encouraging people to break their silence about sexual violence.

FILE - A five-year-old girl poses with her doll as she sits in her wheelchair in the courtyard of the Aberdeen Women's Center, one year after a sexual assault that her family says left her paralyzed, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019.
A five-year-old girl poses with her doll as she sits in her wheelchair in the courtyard of the Aberdeen Women’s Center, one year after a sexual assault that her family says left her paralyzed, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019. VOA

“We also start within our homes because, in most homes, we don’t sit down as parents, as families, to discuss issues,” she said. “So most of the time the children, the women, are not aware of the signs and symptoms. They’re not aware of anything until it had fully happened, so the conversation has to start from the bottom up.”

In an unprecedented move, President Julius Maada Bio in February declared rape and sexual violence a national emergency. The country had more than 8,500 reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence last year, but observers believe thousands of additional cases go unreported.

According to the Rainbo Initiative, a Sierra Leonean organization that helps survivors of gender-based violence, 93 percent of victims treated are younger than 17 years of age, and 24 percent are younger than 11.

rape
The president also created a special police division to handle rape cases. But Sorie believes there is more work to be done. Pixabay

The presidential declaration is already having an effect.

“We believe the most prominent impact so far is that we will have more numbers coming out because people feel more comfortable coming up to report these cases,” Sorie said. “And we also have a situation where the regulations are passed based on the declaration that was made by the president. The process for prosecuting sexual penetration and rape cases would be much shorter based on the instruction and the directives.”

 

Also Read:National Award Winning Filmmaker Rima Das Roots for More Female Directors

The president also created a special police division to handle rape cases. But Sorie believes there is more work to be done. She would like to see the maximum penalty for rape increased to life in prison from the current limit of 15 years and wants stronger witness-protection programs. She also said the nation needs additional medical facilities to treat rape victims and forensics labs to test DNA samples.

“We need to keep the fight going and to curb this menace within our society,” she said. (VOA)