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Uber Driver in India Convicted of Rape

FILE - Candle light vigil to protest the rape of a female Uber passenger, in New Delhi, Dec. 8, 2014.

A court in India has convicted a driver for the mobile ride-sharing company Uber of raping a female passenger in New Delhi last year.

Prosecutor Atul Srivastava told reporters Tuesday that the driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was also convicted of criminal intimidation, kidnapping and endangering the woman's life. The woman had hired Yadav to take her home after a dinner with friends last December, and said he raped her after she fell asleep in the car.

Yadav will be sentenced by the court on Friday, and is facing life imprisonment.

"Sexual assault is a terrible crime, and we're pleased he has now been brought to justice," Amit Jain, the president of Uber's India operations, said a statement hailing the verdict

The attack sparked angry protests over the constant threat of sexual violence faced by Indian women, highlighted by the death of a young female student who was brutally gang raped while riding a bus in 2012, as well as backlash against U.S.-based Uber in the country. New Delhi banned the company from operating in the city, accusing Uber of failing to conduct background checks on its drivers. Yadav had been jailed in a rape case a year earlier, but was later acquitted.

The victim later filed a lawsuit against Uber in U.S. federal court. New Delhi has since reversed its decision and allowed Uber to resume service.

Uber has become a popular option for commuters in hundreds of cities around world, touting itself as a safe option for door-to-door car service, in part because of its cashless, mobile payment system. But it has come under fire for hiring unlicensed taxi drivers, sparking accusations of undercutting regulated taxi services and putting its passengers at risk.