Four men were sentenced to death by an Indian court on Friday for the 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, told the Associated Press.
Saurabh Das / AP
Protesters shout slogans seeking the death sentence for the juvenile convict who was earlier given a three year sentence after a judge announced death sentences for four others convicted in the rape and murder of a student on a New Delhi bus last year.
Her family had earlier said their daughter's dying wish was for her attackers to be "burned alive.''
The Associated Press reported that they will be hanged.
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.
Violent protests exploded in several cities after the crime, which commentators saw as a reflection on rampant mistreatment of women and the government's inability to deal with crime.
As a result, in March, the Indian government introduced tougher rape laws and for the first time open conversation about gender crime in television debates, social media and even Bollywood.
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.
Lawyer A.P. Singh, who represented two of the attackers in the trial, told Reuters hours before the sentencing that it would be, "based on the emotions of the people'' adding that the sentencing was under "political pressure."
He did not say whether they planned to appeal.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published September 13 2013, 2:53 AM