After months of protest for the decision to be upheld, a New Delhi Court ruled on Thursday that four men, convicted for the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in 2012, would face the death penalty.
The men had been sentenced back in September by a special ‘fast track court’ and despite appeals from the guilty parties; the High Court confirmed the sentence would stand, describing the case as ‘one of the rarest of rare cases that warranted the death penalty’.
The 23-year-old medical student and a friend were returning home from a movie when the men tricked them into boarding a bus they were joy-riding. They beat the friend into submission, held the woman down and took turns raping her. They also penetrated her with a rod, causing severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks after the December 2012 attack.
The brutality of the crime unleashed a wave of public anger over the treatment of Indian women and a long-unspoken epidemic of sexual violence in the country.
All six men involved in the attack were arrested soon after the attack.
Police say one of the men hanged himself in prison. Another man — an 18-year-old who was a juvenile at the time of the attack — was convicted and ordered to serve three years in a reform home.
A defense lawyer said the men would appeal Thursday’s decision in the Supreme Court. “These men have been falsely implicated,” A. P. Singh, a lawyer who has represented the four men at various times during the trial, told reporters.
The nationwide outcry following the gang rape led the federal government to rush legislation increasing prison terms for rapists and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.