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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 12:15 GMT
Life sentences over Gujarat riots
Bilkis Bano with family
Bilkis Bano says her family continues to live in fear
A special court in India has given life sentences to 11 people in connection with the murder and gang-rape of Muslims during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The case was moved out of Gujarat and handed over to federal police by the Supreme Court which said the state had done little to bring justice.

It was called the "Bilkis Bano case" after a key witness who had been raped and had a number of relatives killed.

More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, died in the riots.

A defence lawyer has said those convicted will appeal against the verdict.

Hindu mob

A policeman was among those convicted.

He was charged with protecting the guilty and sentenced to three years. But he has already spent four in jail and will be released soon.

Gujarat religious riots
The riots left at least 1,000 dead - mostly Muslims

The convictions had been announced last Friday by the special court in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) - where the trial was shifted following the Supreme Court order in 2004.

Bilkis Bano was the key witness during the trial and it was the evidence she provided that led to the convictions.

Ms Bano, who was pregnant at the time, was raped and her three-year-old daughter and several other family members were killed when a Hindu mob attacked a group of Muslims.

She witnessed the massacre of 14 Muslims and the gang-rape of three women. She survived because the attackers thought she was dead.

A few hours before sentencing, Ms Bano addressed a press conference in Delhi.

''Justice may have been done but my family and I are still living in fear,'' she said.

The Gujarat government, which is run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, was heavily criticised for its poor handling of the riot cases.

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