NEW DELHI – A court in India sentenced Thursday two men to life in prison for raping and impregnating their 10-year-old niece.
Both men are the child’s uncles and were convicted of raping her earlier this week, the BBC reported.
The girl’s pregnancy was discovered in mid-July when she was taken to hospital after complaining of a stomach ache.
She was 30 weeks pregnant when a local court in Chandigarh turned down her abortion plea, on the grounds that her pregnancy was too advanced. A panel of doctors had advised that a medical termination would be “too risky”. Later, India’s Supreme Court also refused to allow her an abortion on similar grounds.
Indian law does not allow terminations after 20 weeks unless doctors certify that the mother’s life is in danger.
The girl gave birth in August and the baby was given away to child welfare authorities for adoption.
Her second uncle was arrested after the baby’s DNA sample did not match that of his older brother, the first suspect.
The older uncle’s trial took a month, while the younger uncle was convicted in a remarkable 18-day trial.
India is home to 400 million children. A child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours.
More than 10,000 children were raped in India in 2015.
India’s courts have received several petitions in recent months, many from child rape survivors, seeking permission for abortions.
In most cases, their pregnancies are discovered late because the children themselves are not aware of their condition.
In May, a similar case was reported from the northern state of Haryana where a 10-year-old, allegedly raped by her stepfather, was allowed to abort. She was about 20 weeks pregnant, doctors said.
None of the girls can be named for legal reasons.