Ameerul Islam, the lone accused in the rape and murder of Dalit law student Jisha, has been sentenced to death by the Ernakulam Sessions Court..In addition, the Court has sentenced Ameerul to four terms of rigorous imprisonment to run concurrently. He is to serve out his sentence at the Central Prison, Viyyoor..The death sentence will depend on the Kerala High Court, to which the proceedings of the case will be forwarded..Following the trial, Special Judge N Anilkumar found Ameerul guilty of all offences charged against him, save for those under Section 201 of the IPC (causing disappearance of evidence) and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015..The prosecution was handled by Special Public Prosecutor NK Unnikrishnan, who was assisted by Advocate P Radhakrishnan. Advocates BA Aloor, Togi KI and Satheesh Mohanan appeared for the accused..Factual Background.The mutilated corpse of Jisha, a law student from Government Law College, Ernakulam, was found in her house at Perumbavoor on the morning of April 28, 2016. The incident provoked mass outrage amongst the student fraternity and human rights activists across the state. The case also acquired a casteist undertone, as Jisha’s family lamented their apparent ill-treatment by neighbours in the area..Online social media campaigns launched by student activists under #justiceforjisha played a crucial role in mobilizing reactions and mounting pressure on the government to bring the guilty to account..Ameerul Islam, a migrant worker from Assam, was eventually hauled up and accused of having committed the crime after he broke into Jisha’s house in a drunken stupor the night before. Ameerul was arrested in July 2016 at Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu..During the course of the investigation, it also emerged that Ameerul habitually engaged in bestiality of goats and dogs, as evidenced by video records of the same..Trial, Judgment and Verdict.The trial, which had commenced last April, concluded on December 6 this year. Ameerul was found guilty by the court last Tuesday. The court based its conclusion on DNA evidence and testimony offered by witnesses..On behalf of Ameerul, it was entreated that the court consider mitigating factors such as the social background of the accused, his young age, absence of criminal antecedents, and familial responsibilities, before passing its sentence..Given the violence meted out by Ameerul, the court opined that these were not sufficient to take the case out of the bracket of the rarest of the rare. Rather, the court took an empathetic view in favour of Jisha, noting that,.“…it is very clear that life had been a continuous battle for the victim…However, all their dreams ended when the accused mercilessly raped and murdered her in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting, and dastardly manner to arouse intense and extreme indignation of the society. .She was subjected to rape while she was all alone at her residence. Her clothes were torn apart and partially pulled away from her body. When the victim persistently resisted the attempt of rape, the convict inflicted 38 injuries all over her body….…When the victim asked for water, the convict mercilessly poured liquor into her mouth. The convict adopted a strange but extremely cruel and perverted method to satisfy his lust. Besides causing severe external bodily harm, he inserted MO23 knife into the perineum of the victim through her vagina. He did this act repeatedly to the extent of pulling out her intestines, whereby a portion of the mesentery along with intestinal portion was separated and seen lying outside the body. This is a clear demonstration of exceptional depravity and extreme brutality towards a helpless woman…”.The Court noted that the case illustrated the status of gender justice as it stands..“…It is disheartening to note that, had the victim been consented to the evil act of the convict, she would not have been subjected to brutal murder. Her resistance at the cost of her life could be termed as reflection of gender justice that shocked the collective conscience of the society. Hence, sympathy in any form would be misplaced and it would shake the confidence of the public in the administration of criminal justice system.”.The judge further noted that given the brutality of the crime and the profound impact it has had on people, the case was fit to be termed as one falling within the rarest of the rare cases. Therefore, the court held, it was fitting that the accused be served with the death penalty..“The facts and circumstances of this case would indicate that the crime created grave impact on social order. The gravity of the offence on the society is unparallel…The brutal acts of the convict definitely fit this case within the umbrella of ‘rarest of rare cases’ on par with the Nirbhaya’s case in Delhi. .Judged by the above standards, when collective conscience of the community is so shocked, it is the duty of the court to inflict death penalty, irrespective of personal opinion as regards desirability of imposing death penalty. In the interest of justice, the law leans in accordance with the perception of society and not ‘judge-centric’. Hence, this is a fit case for awarding death sentence to the accused.”.While concluding the judgement, the judge also expressed hope that the verdict would be,.“…yet another revelation for mass movement ‘to end violence against women’ and to gain ‘respect for women and her dignity’ in the years to come.”.Read the Judgment..Image taken from here.