Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been sentenced to two years in prison by a local court in a criminal defamation case.
Gandhi was convicted by a Gujarat state court for his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last name at a 2019 campaign rally.
He won’t go straight to jail – he has 30 days free of bail and can appeal the order.
The congressman was in court when the judge issued the order.
At a campaign rally in Karnataka before the 2019 general election, Gandhi asked why all thieves wear “Modi” as a common name – according to media reports at the time, he was referring to fugitive diamond magnate Nirav Modi and a former Indian. Premier League boss Lalit Modi.
The case was brought on the basis of a complaint by Purnesh Modi, an MP in India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, who said Gandhi’s comments defamed the entire Modi community.
Mr Gandhi’s lawyers argued that proper legal procedures were not followed in this case. They also said Narendra Modi should be the rapporteur because Purnesh Modi was not the target of Gandhi’s speeches.
The Congress party tweeted that Gandhi would file a complaint and “we will fight and win.”
Gandhi has not spoken publicly, but he did tweet a Hindi quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, and non-violence is the means to achieve it.”