Uber India Driver Found Guilty of Kidnapping and Rape

Former Uber India driver Shiv Kumar Yadav was found guilty of rape, kidnapping and intimidation on Tuesday by a Delhi court. Police escort Yadav outside a court in Delhi on December 8, 2014. Adnan Abidi

A former Uber driver in India was convicted on Tuesday of rape, intimidation and kidnapping following an attack last year on a female passenger in Delhi.

After booking a trip home from work with Uber in December, the now-26-year-old female passenger said she was driven to an isolated area and raped by Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32. The woman said she had fallen asleep in the back of the car and woke up to find Yadav next to her.

In addition to the rape charge, Yadav was convicted of criminal intimidation, kidnapping and endangering a woman's life, public prosecutor Atul Srivastava told reporters in Delhi on Tuesday. Yadav pleaded not guilty to the charges, the BBC reported.

Following the attack, Delhi temporarily banned Internet-based taxi services like Uber for failing to protect their passengers and carry out adequate background checks on drivers. Uber has since resumed service in Delhi.

"Sexual assault is a terrible crime and we're pleased he has now been brought to justice," Amit Jain, president of Uber India, said in a statement emailed to Newsweek.

"Safety is a priority for Uber and we've made many improvements—in terms of new technology, enhanced background checks and better 24/7 customer support—as a result of the lessons we learned from this awful case," Jain said in his statement.

After the attack in December, Uber released a review on "our commitment to safety" and acknowledged that "in many places outside the U.S., the infrastructure and complexity of background checks vary significantly." In India, the company said it was looking into extra checks on its drivers in addition to the screening already in place.

A number of high-profile rape and sexual assault cases over the past few years, particularly the 2012 gang rape of a young woman on a Delhi bus, have highlighted the dangers many women face while traveling in India.

Yadav will be sentenced on Friday and faces life in prison, The Times of India reported.

Incidents of rape, sexual assault and harassment, as well as injuries and deaths caused by Uber and Lyft drivers, occur around the world. According to Who's Driving You? (a public awareness initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association), passengers have reported incidents of sexual assault and rape by Uber drivers in Australia, Canada, India and the U.K. over the past year.