Kollam (Kerala): A POCSO court here on Wednesday awarded three life sentences, besides 26 years of rigorous imprisonment, to a 25-year-old man, who brutally raped and murdered his seven-year-old niece on September 27, 2017.The convict, who will have to undergo the sentences separately, has also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 3.20 lakh to the family of the victim. The judgment was delivered by Kollam additional sessions judge E Baiju, who is in charge of the POCSO (protection of children from sexual offences) court here. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The court had, on Tuesday, convicted Rajesh for various offences — murder, rape, unnatural sex, abduction and showing disrespect to a dead body. The prosecution case was that the convict had strangled his niece and raped her after taking her to a rubber plantation at Kulathupuzha, where he had abandoned the body. The convict used to live with the victim and her family at Anchal here. On the day of the incident, the girl was on her way to a tuition centre along with her grandmother when Rajesh assured them that he would drop her at her destination. However, he took the girl to the rubber plantation, about 16 km away, in an autorickshaw and committed the crime. Police had launched a hunt for the victim on the basis of a missing complaint from her mother. Rajesh was subsequently nabbed from a forest at Kulathupuzha, where he was hiding. The girl’s relatives werepresent in the court on Wednesday.
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The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Leandro Despouy, expressed his satisfaction at Mr. Ciampi’s decision to send the bill back to the lawmakers.Mr. Despouy had earlier written Mr. Ciampi a letter detailing his concerns. “The reforms represent a worrying limitation to the guarantees of independence that, for over a decade now, have been considered to be key features of the Italian judiciary and have conferred upon Italy an enviable international prestige and moral authority, and served as a model to other countries,” he declared.Among his concerns were the role of the Justice Ministry in nominating a chief prosecutor, paving the way for possible Government interference; the weakening of the powers of the Higher Judicial Council, the independent body in charge of controlling the judiciary; and powers attributed to the Executive over the Judiciary that are in conflict with the independence of the judiciary and are likely to result in undue Executive interference in the disciplinary process and decisions affecting judges.