Indian court convicts 17 officials in gang rapes

AP News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2011 10:22 AM
Indian court convicts 17 officials in gang rapes

An Indian court found 17 police and forest officials guilty on Thursday of raping a group of lower-caste women during a search of their village 19 years ago, a report said.

The court also ruled that about 100 other officials had brutally beaten dozens of impoverished people in the village known as dalits, who are at the bottom of India's caste system, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Officials raided Vachathi village in southern Tamil Nadu state in 1992 to search for smuggled sandalwood. The region is 1,100 miles (1,760 kilometers) south of New Delhi.

Eighteen women were reportedly raped and 100 people were badly beaten during the two-day raid.

The defendants will be sentenced next week and face up to 10 years in jail.

Indian courts are notoriously slow. The news agency said many of the defendants have already died.

Court officials couldn't be reached immediately for details.