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New Efrain Moto Salazar Elementos De Derecho
In this highly publicised case, the Supreme Court considered ten matters – eight are appeals by the victim against the acquittal of the accused rapists; one appeal has been filed by the convicted and the one is a suo moto action of the Court recalling the judgement in the gang-rape case that acquitted five of the six accused. Fourteen men were indicted in the gang rape of Mukhtar Mai in 2002, undertaken in revenge for an alleged breach of decorum by her brother and sanctioned by a panchayat (village council). Ultimately, eight of the accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence, and the remaining six were given death sentences by the trial court. The petition of the victim asserts that, amongst other things, it is erroneous to hold that the delay in lodging of a complaint is fatal to the prosecution case. The petition also asserts that it is erroneous to hold that the testimony of a rape victim requires corroboration. In this case there was a conclusive medical report confirming rape and the rape did not take place in private (as a matter of fact, the victim was thrown out of the room partially undressed for all to see). The Court set aside the acquittals and sentenced them on each count to imprisonment for ten years, running concurrently.
The female victim declared to the competent authorities that she worked as a motorcycle taxi driver in La Fria, Tchira State. On the morning of September 9, 2014, she transported a male passenger. During the journey, the passenger threatened and sexually assaulted her with an object. On November 18, 2014, the lower court convicted the defendant of the crime of sexual violence even though psychological or physical violence were not proven at the trial, which used to be one of the elements for such crime. The defendant requested a review of the courts decision to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (the TSJ) on the basis that neither physical nor psychological violence were confirmed by the lower court. The TSJ ratified the decision of the lower court and decided that it is no longer necessary to verify that physical or psychological violence occurred in order to determine the crime of sexual violence. As a result of this decision, each of the crimes of sexual, psychological, and physical violence can be committed separately, reinforcing the protection of womens rights. This decision represents an improvement in rights for women in Venezuela.