India gang rapists sentenced to death

India gang rapists sentenced to death
Fri Sep 13, 2013 17:41:02

Four Indian men guilty of fatally raping a young woman on a bus last December have been sentenced to death, in a New Delhi court.

Judge Yogesh Khanna, who convicted the men for gang rape and "cold-blooded" murder earlier this week, rejected their lawyers' plea for a lighter sentence.

"Everybody got the death penalty," said one of the defense lawyers, A.P. Singh, outside the courtroom.

The woman, a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, and a male friend were lured onto a bus by five men and a teenager. The woman was then repeatedly raped and tortured with a metal bar. Her injuries were so severe that she died two weeks later.

One of the five men arrested in connection with the attack committed suicide in prison in March, while the teenager was sentenced to three years in a reformatory last month, the maximum sentence that be given to juveniles under Indian law.
The victim became a symbol of the dangers women face in India where a rape is reported on average every 21 minutes.

The brutality of the crime sparked nationwide protests and forced the government to overhaul the law on women's safety.
India has had a paradoxical attitude toward the death penalty in recent years.

Khanna's ruling, however, still has to be ratified by the Delhi High Court, and the four men can appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. The appeals process could take years, lawyers said.

Indian courts hand down on average 130 death sentences every year, but only three people have been executed in the past 17 years.

SHI/SHI

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