Justice at Last: Death Sentences for Indian Rapist – Murderers*
Four men convicted of the gang-rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi last year have been sentenced to death. “Our girl has got justice,” said the victim’s father.
The brutal rape and killing of a 23-year-old New Delhi woman sent shockwaves throughout India, sparking massive protests and government pledges to reform laws on sexual violence.
The court was under intense pressure to deliver a harsh punishment, and Judge Yogesh Khanna made clear the resonance of the crime and its punishment, saying the attack “shocked the collective conscience” of India.
“In these times, when crime against women is on the rise, the courts cannot turn a blind eye toward such gruesome crimes,” he added.
The four men – fruit seller Pawan Gupta, bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh, gym instructor Vinay Sharma and unemployed Mukesh Singh – will be killed by hanging having been found guilty earlier this week. Mr Sharma broke down in tears in the courtroom after the verdict was read.
But the sentence will need to be confirmed by India’s High Court: the men can appeal the sentence, and ask India’s president for clemency.
The verdict was greeted with cries of “Justice! Justice!” in the court room and ended a seven-month trial that was often held behind closed doors.
Scales of justice
The victim’s family, along with politicians and government officials, had called for the men to be executed. “I am very happy our girl has got justice,” said the victim’s father. He cannot be named under Indian laws guarding the deceased rape victim’s identity.
But the defence lawyer acting for two of the convicted men, AP Singh, said the sentence were politically motivated: “This is not the victory of truth. But it is the defeat of justice.”
The judge also ordered that the four men pay a total of 55,000 rupees (£548) to the 23-year-old victim’s family and issued fines to the Indian Police Service for their handling of the case.