Indian Uber driver convicted of rape of passenger

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An Uber taxi driver was convicted Tuesday of raping a passenger a year ago in a case that once again put the spotlight on the safety of women in the Indian capital.

Shiv Kumar Yadav faces up to life in prison at his sentencing, due Friday, his lawyer DK Mishra said.

The 25-year-old passenger said she fell asleep in the cab and the driver stopped at an isolated spot and raped her.

The incident happened on December 5 when the woman, a finance executive, was travelling from her workplace in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi, to her home in the north of the city.

Yadav was arrested two days later in a nearby town. The police later said he had been accused of previous sexual assaults but had not been convicted.

Attacks on women and sexual violence have been a focus of public attention in India since the fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012, which triggered mass protests and led to stronger sexual assault laws.

“The accused has been convicted of all charges against him,” said DK Mishra, an attorney for Yadav. “The prosecution said the alleged victim’s sole testimony was sufficient to convict him, and the honourable court agreed.”

He was convicted of rape, abduction and causing grievous hurt.

Delhi Police temporarily banned the US-based online car-sharing company Uber and several other app-based taxi aggregators after the assault, saying they failed to conduct basic safety checks.

Uber apologized for the incident and said it would improve its checking systems. “Sexual assault is a terrible crime, and we’re pleased he has now been brought to justice,” Uber’s India operations president, Amit Jain, said.

The verdict came days after reports of the rape of two girls, ages 4 and 5, in separate incidents in Delhi.

In 2014, 36,735 rapes were reported to the police, of which 2,096 were in the capital, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data.

Campaigners said many more go unreported.

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