Spanish woman's Mumbai rapist gets life sentence

In this photograph taken on December 30, 2012, Indian bystanders look at a banner featuring images of "government and rapists" as it lies on a road in New Delhi Last year's brutal gang rape in Delhi triggered intense protests across the country

A court in India's western Mumbai city has sentenced a man for life in jail for raping a Spanish woman in November last year.

Mohammed Badshah Ansari broke into the woman's apartment in the upscale Bandra area and raped her at knife-point.

He was convicted for rape and destruction of evidence.

Crimes against women have received a lot of attention in India since last December's fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in Delhi.

The rape shocked Indians and prompted protests across the country. It also led to the introduction of tougher laws on rape and special fast-track courts to try suspects.

"The court has to keep in mind the interest of the society at large and the case does not have any ground for leniency," Judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi said in her order on Friday.

Ansari, 28, had pleaded the court for leniency saying he was the breadwinner for his family and that his mother, wife and two young children were dependent on him.

But the prosecution said that Ansari was a "serial house-breaker and robber" who could not be reformed.

"He put the defenceless, poor, helpless girl [Spanish woman] in such a situation that she refused to come back to India for even deposing in the case. She left India with a bad impression and it was question of the image of the nation," Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court.

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