Jisha case: Lone accused Ameerul Islam found guilty

About 20 months after a 30-year-old Dalit woman was raped and murdered in Perumbavoor, the lone accused in the case was pronounced guilty by a court in Ernakulam on Tuesday.

The Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court convicted Ameerul Islam, a migrant worker from Assam, in the rape and murder of law student Jisha. The gruesome crime had led to a statewide campaign seeking justice for her and the case opened up an extensive debate on women's safety in the state.

The court is set to pronounce the quantum of punishment later.

Jisha was found dead in her one-room home by her mother Rajeswari on the night of April 28, 2016. In May, the investigating team collected the suspect's DNA samples. Days after the Left Democratic Front government took over in May, a new investigation team was formed under ADGP B Sandhya. In June, 2016, Ameerul's arrest was recorded in Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. The police submitted the charge-sheet in September 2016. The trial commenced in April this year.

Judge N Anilkumar found Ameerul guilty on charges under sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape), 376A (inflicting injury causing death or a persistent vegetative state), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 449 (trespass) of the IPC. Ameerul was not convicted on charges of causing disappearance of evidence or charges under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Special Public Prosecutor N K Unnikrishnan said six scientific evidences including the blood traces of the accused found on the victim and the footwear found near the scene of crime proved key in the probe.

Reacting to the verdict, Jisha's mother Rajeswari demanded capital punishment for the convict. Ameerul's lawyer B A Aloor said considering that the murder charges were already established, the defence would argue for the least in terms of punishment - a life sentence.

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