A judge in Delhi has sentenced to death four men convicted for their role in the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in the Indian capital last year.
Bus cleaner Akshay Thakur, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, fruit-seller Pawan Gupta and unemployed Mukesh Singh were convicted earlier this week of rape, unnatural sex, murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence. They had denied the charges against them and their lawyers have said they will appeal against both the verdict and the sentence.
The sentence was pronounced at 2.30pm by Yogesh Khanna, the judge who has heard the case over seven months at the district court of Saket in south Delhi.
It will be automatically referred to a high court bench of two judges who will consider the sentence and the appeal that lawyers for the four men have said they will file.
If upheld, an appeal to the supreme court is also possible. The Indian president can pardon offenders. Such a process would be likely to take several years.
The parents of the victim, who died from massive internal injuries caused when she was penetrated with an iron rod in the attack in December, have repeatedly called for the men to be hanged. They were in court on Friday.
Gaurav, the brother of the victim, said it had been hard to watch the accused men “laughing” during the trial and that the family were “very happy” with the sentencing.
“This is true justice for my sister,” he told the Guardian.
Officials said the four men had been calm when the sentence was announced.
Source: The Guardian