Indian couple given life in prison for daughter's murder

Indian couple given life in prison for daughter's murder

GHAZIABAD, India - A prosperous Indian dentist couple were sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for slitting the throats of their teenage daughter and domestic servant in a case that transfixed the nation.

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar had been convicted on Monday of murdering Aarushi, 14, and Nepalese domestic servant Hemraj Banjade at their home in an affluent New Delhi suburb in 2008.

Judge Shyam Lal rejected prosecution requests for the death penalty during a hearing on Tuesday, instead giving the couple life in jail for the killings that investigators allege were carried out with "clinical precision".

"Life imprisonment is the basic sentence. We are satisfied with the judgement. The case has come to an end," prosecutor R.K. Saini told a horde of reporters outside the court in Ghaziabad, a satellite city just outside the capital.

The couple's jailing was the latest twist in the long-running case that has been awash with sexual rumours and allegations of police bungling and media bias.

Investigators said the Talwars killed Aarushi in a fit of rage after finding her with the 45-year-old servant in an "objectionable position", suggesting the double murder was a so-called honour killing.

The couple, both successful, middle-class dentists, vowed to appeal against the conviction, insisting they were victims of police incompetence and a media witchhunt.

"They are determined to fight to restore the honour of their daughter till their last breath - and so are their lawyers as well," defence lawyer Tanvir Ahmed Mir told reporters outside court.

The trial came as India increasingly focuses on violent crime against women following the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi last year that sparked outrage over the country's treatment of women.

The case has also raised awkward questions about the relationship between wealthy Indian families and the poor, often-migrant servants who cook, clean and look after their every need.

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