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Juvenile convict in 2012 Delhi gang rape case to be released, court rules

A young convict in the gruesome Delhi gang rape case of 2012 will no longer be detained, a court has ruled. The man was under 18 when he committed the crime and convicted under laws for juveniles.

The Delhi High Court's judges said on Friday that a stay on the release of the juvenile convict could not be allowed because of existing laws for underage criminals that stipulate juvenile criminals cannot be held for more than three years.

"There cannot be any direction to continue his stay in the special home beyond December 20. Hence we decline to issue any direction as prayed by the petitioner," Judges G. Rohini and Jayant Nath said.

The judges also directed India's Juvenile Justice Board to interact with the convict, his parents and the concerned officials of the Department of Women and Child Development regarding his "rehabilitation and development."

The court was responding to a petition filed by the government requesting the extension of the offender's detention. According to reports in the media, the government said a mental health assessment and a report from the counselor who worked with him were missing from the rehabilitation plan.

Parents of victim Jyoti Singh said they did not want the convict released because he remained a threat to society.

Singh, who was 23 and also known as "Nirbhaya" in the media, was brutally gang raped in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012 by six people, including the juvenile, who was just under 18 years of age at the time. The victim died of her injuries shortly after on December 29 and the case sparked protests across the country.

Four of the offenders were sentenced to death by hanging, while the driver of the bus committed suicide in jail on March 13, 2013.

mg/sms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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