Four men were sentenced to death by an Indian court on Friday for the brutal gang rape and murder of a young New Delhi woman on a moving bus -- a case that sparked furious protests across the country and a rare national debate about violence against women.
Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Sing were convicted Tuesday of raping the young woman for an hour, torturing her with an iron rod on a moving bus and then throwing her naked and bleeding onto the road.
The attack left her with such severe internal injuries that she died two weeks later.
“This has shocked the collective conscience of society,'' Judge Yogesh Khanna told the attackers, adding the “courts could not turn a blind eye” to such crimes as he handed down the harshest sentence available.
"I am very happy our girl has got justice," said the 23-year-old victim's father, who cannot be named under Indian laws guarding his daughter's identity as a rape victim.
Along with numerous politicians and government officials, his family had long called for the men to be executed.
The sentence must be confirmed by India's High Court and the men can appeal their case to the Supreme Court, or ask the president for clemency.
Last month, a 17-year-old involved in the incident was sentenced to three years in a special correctional facility after being found guilty of rape and murder charges.
The alleged ringleader in the case was found dead in his cell in March.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.