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Death Penalty Upheld for Muhammed Ameer-ul-Islam in Jisha Rape and Murder Case

Kerala High Court Upholds Death Penalty for Muhammed Ameer-ul-Islam in Jisha Rape and Murder Case

The Kerala High Court on Monday upheld the conviction and death penalty of Muhammed Ameer-ul-Islam, the sole accused in the rape and murder of Dalit law student Jisha [Muhammed Ameer-ul-Islam v. State of Kerala].

A division bench comprising Justices PB Suresh Kumar and S Manu delivered the order.

On the morning of April 28, 2016, Jisha, a student at Ernakulam Government Law College, was found brutally murdered in her home at Perumbavoor. The gruesome incident sparked widespread outrage and highlighted issues of caste discrimination, as Jisha’s family reported mistreatment by their neighbors.

Ameerul, a migrant worker from Assam, was accused of committing the crime after allegedly breaking into Jisha’s house while intoxicated the night before.

In December 2017, the Ernakulam Sessions Court found Ameerul guilty of most charges, except those under Section 201 of the IPC (causing disappearance of evidence) and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015. The court sentenced him to death and imposed four terms of rigorous imprisonment to run concurrently.

Ameerul appealed the conviction and sentence to the High Court, also requesting a re-investigation by a central agency. The High Court’s verdict addressed both his appeal and the State’s death sentence reference.

In a notable move, the High Court had appointed two mitigation investigators from Project 39A, a research and legal aid center at the National Law University, Delhi, to assist with the sentencing process. This was one of the first instances of a High Court commissioning mitigation studies before hearing an appeal.

Senior Advocate Sasthamangalam S Ajithkumar, along with advocates Rayjith Mark, Sreejith S Nair, VS Thoshin, PA Meera, EA Haris, and Satheesh Mohanan, represented Ameerul. Special Public Prosecutor NK Unnikrishnan represented the State. Advocates Mitha Sudhindran and Saipooja assisted the Court with the death sentence mitigation studies as amici curiae.

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