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Indian filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui was given a seven-year jail sentence after being convicted of raping an American woman at his Delhi home last year.
Farooqui co-directed the 2010 release Peepli Live with his wife, Anusha Rizvi,
As reported earlier, the case first came to light when the victim, a research student from Columbia University, filed a police complaint which led to Farooqui’s arrest last June. He was later released on bail as the case went to trial in September.
A lower court in Delhi convicted him last week and announced its sentence Thursday following which Farooqui was taken into custody. The court also ordered Farooqui to pay a fine of $748 (50,000 rupees) stating that the amount be given to the victim, according to the Hindustan Times. Farooqui is expected to appeal the verdict, and the case could go to a higher court. “Our fight for justice is by no means over,” his wife had earlier told the newspaper. “We will approach the High Court for justice that has been denied to us.”
Farooqui was first introduced to the research student, who is in her thirties, by Danish Hussain, a longtime friend of the director. In her complaint, the woman alleged that Farooqui was drunk when he raped her at his house after he invited her over to discuss her research project last March.
The Farooqui case comes at a time of increased media and judicial scrutiny of sexual violence against women in Indian society. The brutal gang-rape of a young Delhi woman on a moving bus in the city on Dec. 16, 2012, sparked nationwide protests, throwing light on rising crimes against women in India. The outcry led to a call for action that included legal amendments and fast-tracking rape cases such as the Farooqui case.
The 2012 incident was also referred to in the testimony of the American woman who told the court that she “did not resist” the rape because she feared she would also be killed like the Delhi gang-rape victim, according to the Indian Express.
Peepli Live, which premiered at Sundance in 2010, was a satirical take on a poor farmer’s struggle to pay his loans, highlighting India’s painful issue of farmer suicides. The film was produced by top Bollywood star Aamir Khan and was put forward as India’s entry for the foreign-language film Oscar in 2011.
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