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Rapists sentenced to death in case 'that shocked the collective conscience' of India

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The four men who brutally attacked a 23-year-old female medical student aboard a speeding bus in Delhi last December have been sentenced to death. The victim later died of her injuries at a hospital in Singapore in a case that rattled the nation of India to its very core.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Defendants Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta were sentenced this week. Judge Yogesh Khanna said the case fell in the "rarest of rare category and warrants the exemplary punishment of death.

"In these times, when crime against women is on the rise, the courts cannot turn a blind eye toward such gruesome crimes," Khanna said as he announced the sentence. He later added that the case "shocked the collective conscience" of India.

The 20-year-old Sharma burst into tears as the sentence was announced.

In the meantime, crowds in the building and outside the courtroom roared with cheers and applause.

Khanna's order must be confirmed by India's High Court in the case of a ll death sentences. The men can appeal their case to the High Court as well as to the Supreme Court and ask the president for clemency.

The four men had rapidly become the most despised men in the nation. The victim's family, in addition to numerous politicians and government officials, had called for capital punishment.

"I am very happy our girl has got justice," the victim's father told reporters, flanked by his wife and sons.

The case had come to symbolize the rampant mistreatment of women and the government's inability to deal with crime.

A 17-year-old male that had been 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 last March.

The Indian government has since introduced tougher rape laws in March. If there is anything positive from the incident, many say, is that it has spurred conversation about gender crime in television debates, social media and even Bollywood.

The attorney for two of the defendants said the sentencing would be "based on the emotions of the people" adding that the sentencing was under "political pressure."

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