Indian police get life terms for killing man

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New Delhi - An Indian court sentenced 17 police officers on Monday to life in prison for kidnapping and killing a 22-year-old jobseeker in their custody in 2009.

Prosecutors said business graduate Ranbir Singh had gone to the northern city of Dehradun looking for a job when he was arrested by police for alleged robbery.

Newspapers said police claimed Singh was involved in an extortion racket and was shot trying to escape arrest. But an investigation determined he'd been tortured, shot 12 times at close range and died in custody.

The conviction of 17 police officers in a single case is believed to be unprecedented in India. Rights groups often accuse Indian security forces of torturing and killing people in custody to force them to confess.

In convicting the officers on Friday, Judge J P Malik also found them guilty of entering into a criminal conspiracy to kill Singh. The officers had denied the charges against them and can appeal.

Members of the victim's family said on Monday they had hoped the officers would be given the death penalty, and would appeal the sentences to a higher court.

The case was tried in New Delhi, after the victim's father, Ravindra Singh, filed a petition saying the involvement of Uttarakhand's state police left him doubtful that justice could be served by authorities in the state capital of Dehradun. - Sapa-AP


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