Indian film-maker Mahmood Farooqui has been found guilty of raping an American research student at his Delhi home in March 2015.
Farooqui, who co-directed the 2010 release Peepli Live, with his wife Anusha Rizvi, faces seven years to life I’m prison, according to the Indian Express. The court is slated to hear arguments Tuesday before sentencing him.
The case first came to light when the victim, who was a 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.
The case is seen as a landmark as its verdict has been delivered under a 2013 amendment to the criminal law which included forced oral sex as a crime, the complainant’s counsel Vrinda Grover told the Express.
“This is perhaps one of the first cases of forced oral sex, which shows two things: that there was a crime for which we did not earlier have an offense named, now it has been recognized as rape. We’re also very happy to see that the court relied on very credible evidence that the woman gave.”
The brutal gang-rape of a young Delhi woman on a moving bus in New Delhi on December 16, 2012 sparked nationwide protests. The outcry led to a call for action against crimes against women which included legal amendments and fast-tracking rape cases.
Farooqui was first introduced to the student, who is in her thirties, by Danish Hussain, a long-time friend of the director. Local reports said that Hussain, in his testimony, said that the victim immediately contacted him after she was assaulted by Farooqui.
According to the Express, 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.
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 Anusha Rizvi told the Hindustan Times. “We will approach the High Court for justice that has been denied to us.”