Indian missionary killer escapes death sentence
India’s Supreme Court on Friday sentenced the killer of an Australian missionary and his two sons in 1999 to life in prison. Federal police had appealed for the death sentence for Dara Singh, who was convicted for setting alight the car of Graham Staines.
Staines was a Christian missionary who worked with lepers. A Hindu mob torched his car in the eastern state of Orissa. Staines and his two sons, aged eight and 10, died in the car.
Singh and another man, Mahendra Hembram, were convicted, while 11 other suspects were set free.
A two-man bench in the Supreme Court ruled Friday that the case against Singh was not "the rarest of the rare", which is the only justification for handing down the death penalty in India.
Hindu groups accused Staines of forcibly converting poor Hindus in Orissa to Christianity.