India court jails five for life for gang-raping call centre worker

Indian activists hold candles as they participate in a vigil to protest against the gang rape and murder of a teenager in Kolkata on Jan 2, 2014. An Indian court on Monday, Oct 20, 2014, jailed five men for life for gang-raping a call centre wor
Indian activists hold candles as they participate in a vigil to protest against the gang rape and murder of a teenager in Kolkata on Jan 2, 2014. An Indian court on Monday, Oct 20, 2014, jailed five men for life for gang-raping a call centre worker in a case that occurred two years before a fatal sex attack on a student sparked global outrage. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An Indian court Monday jailed five men for life for gang-raping a call centre worker in a case that occurred two years before a fatal sex attack on a student sparked global outrage.

The men abducted the 30-year-old woman at gunpoint in 2010 as she was walking home with a colleague after a late shift in southwest New Delhi, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.

They took turns raping the woman, who is from the country's remote northeast, in the back of a truck while driving around the capital, before she was dumped on a secluded stretch of road.

In December 2012 the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi unleashed seething public anger and street protests against India's treatment of women.

Additional sessions judge Virender Bhat handed down the sentences after the five were convicted last week following a trial that relied on the woman's testimony and medical evidence.

"Life imprisonment is awarded to all the convicts for the offence of gang-rape. A fine of 50,000 rupees (S$1,030) is also imposed," Bhatt was quoted by PTI as saying.

The men, aged between 24 and 29, were part of a gang of cattle thieves from the notoriously lawless Mewat region in neighbouring Haryana state.

The case led to an overhaul of safety measures in the country's major IT outsourcing industry, where most shifts end late at night to coincide with time zones in the United States and Europe.

The new initiatives included female workers taken home in groups in a taxi and armed guards escorting the last woman left in each car.

The sentences follow outrage over the fatal attack on the 23-year-old student on a moving bus that led to tougher punishments for rapists and other sex offenders.

Despite the new laws, sexual violence continues unabated in the country where a rape is committed every 22 minutes, according to government figures.