The victim, a trainee physiotherapist who was raped for an hour
and tortured with an iron rod on a moving bus, became a symbol of
the dangers women face in a country where a rape is reported on
average every 21 minutes.
"The day the murderers of my daughter are hanged, we will feel we
have got justice," the victim's mother said after the Delhi High
Court confirmed the sentence of hanging handed down by a trial judge
"We hope, even in other such cases, justice will be done in the same
fashion," the mother said. Indian law bars the press from
identifying rape victims.
Defense lawyers said they would appeal to the Supreme Court, with
one denouncing Thursday's decision as politically motivated. India
holds a general election in April and May.
"This is not a fair trial," A.P. Singh, representing two of the
convicts, told reporters after the ruling by a panel of two female
judges. "If the judgment had come after the elections, it would have
been in our favor ... Clearly, the judges are under political
Gym instructor Vinay Sharma, bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh,
fruit-seller Pawan Gupta, and unemployed Mukesh Singh were sentenced
to death for their part in the gang rape and killing of the
23-year-old woman in December 2012.
During the seven-month trial, a fifth defendant hanged himself in
his cell. A sixth, who was under 18 at the time of the attack, was
sentenced to three years' detention, the maximum allowed under
[to top of second column]
In his original sentencing of the four, the trial judge said India's
courts "cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong
deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes".
If the Supreme Court upholds the sentence, a final decision will lie
with the president, who has the power to grant clemency. Indian
courts condemn around 130 people a year to death but the sentences
are rarely carried out.
(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; writing by Douglas Busvine;
editing by Malini Menon and Nick Macfie)
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