Delhi gang rape: four men sentenced to death
Family of student who died after brutal gang-rape have repeatedly called for the men to be hanged
THE DECISION of an Indian judge to hand down death sentences today to the four men who gang-raped a 23-year-old woman in Delhi last December was greeted by cheers today, while the victim's father said: "Justice has been delivered".
The accused - Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta – had denied the charges but were convicted earlier this week.
The young woman was raped so brutally on 16 December that she died two weeks later from internal injuries. Her death led to a wave of unprecedented anger and protests across India and forced the introduction of tough new laws to punish sexual offences.
The men's defence lawyer says they will appeal against both the verdict and the sentence. He had asked for sentences of life imprisonment, reminding the court that Indian law calls for execution only in exceptional cases.
However, Judge Yogesh Khanna said: "This case definitely falls in the rarest of rare categories and warrants the exemplary punishment of death."
The family of the victim, who was abused with an iron rod in the attack, have repeatedly called for the men to be hanged. Today the victim's father said he was satisfied with the verdict, telling reporters: "We are very happy. Justice has been delivered."
One of the defendants broke down at the news. This was followed by cheers from the crowds outside the court as the news emerged, reports Sanjoy Majumder, a BBC News correspondent in Delhi. People reportedly shouted "Justice, justice!", as others called for the teenage boy who also took part in the attack to be hanged too.
He was sentenced on 31 August to three years in a reform facility, the maximum term possible because the crime was committed when he was 17. He had also denied all the charges.
Another suspect, Ram Singh, was found dead in his cell in March. Prison officials believed he hanged himself but his family claim he was murdered.
On an average, judges in India hand down 130 death sentences a year, although in the last 17 years only three executions have taken place. ·