A court in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday sentenced to double life imprisonment two men convicted for the rape and murder of a Latvian woman tourist, who went missing in 2018 from Kovalam near the state capital, and directed that both should remain behind bars for remainder of their lives.
A Thiruvananthapuram sessions court sentenced the two convicts -- Umesh and Udayan -- to life imprisonment for the offences under Section 302 (murder) and section 376A (rape leading to death or putting the woman in a persistent vegetative state) of the IPC, special public prosecutor G Mohanraj told reporters outside the court.
The SPP said for the offence under Section 376A, the court said the convicts are to remain in jail for the remainder of their natural lives and they should not be granted any remission.
Besides that, the court also sentenced the duo to 10 years for the offence under sections 376 (rape) and for 20 years under section 376D (gangrape) of the IPC, the SPP said.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 1.6 lakh on each of them.
He also told reporters the court has directed that a portion of the fine be given to the victim's sister and also asked the district legal services authority to carry out an enquiry and provide compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme.
The detailed order is not yet available.
The verdict was welcomed by the victim's sister who told a TV channel that she would like to thank the Sessions Judge "for pronouncing a fair judgement".
"I feel relieved, I feel peace that it has ended and things have been put right. I hope it will serve as a lesson to other people and they will think before they commit such evil crimes," she said.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan also welcomed the verdict and congratulated the investigating officers and the prosecution.
He also said it was also a victory for the determined fight of the victim's sister to ensure that justice prevailed.
The court had convicted the duo on December 2 for the rape and murder of the 33-year-old Latvian tourist, who had gone missing under mysterious circumstances from Kovalam on March 14, 2018.
The arguments on sentence were heard on Monday when the prosecution sought maximum punishment in the case, saying the victim was a foreign national, who was murdered.
The two convicts had sought a lesser punishment considering their age.
The accused were found guilty based on the circumstantial and scientific evidence.
The highly decomposed and headless body of the woman was recovered from a mangrove forest at nearby Thiruvallam on April 21, 2018 and Umesh and Udayan were arrested on May 3, 2018.
The two men were charged under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and 20(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
The police had said that the woman was raped and murdered by the two accused, who are drug peddlers, on March 14, 2018, the day she went missing.
The accused lured her to the spot saying it was a scenic and beautiful place, made her consume ganja, and then sexually assaulted and strangled her to death.