NEW DELHI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- An Indian fast-track court Friday sentenced to death all the four adult convicts, three days after it held them guilty of the horrific gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in the national capital last December.
Judge Yogesh Khanna termed it as "a rarest of rare case" as he delivered the landmark judgment, much to the delight of ordinary Indians who glued on to TV sets to hear the outcome, some nine months after the gruesome incident shocked the country and sparked massive protests in the national capital.
"In these times when crime against women is on the rise, courts cannot turn a blind eye towards such barbaric and gruesome crime. There cannot be any tolerance. This crime in every way falls within the rarest of rare category warranting a death sentence," the judge said.
The four death row convicts -- Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta -- broke down hearing the order even as their defense counsel, A.K. Singh, alleged political conspiracy and said that an appeal against the judgment would be filed before the Delhi High Court.
However, the prosecution was jubilant.
"Today after so long we have got the judgement, it is victory for all. The family and those who have been protesting across Delhi. The judiciary of the country has been upheld. We thank the media and the people of the country for their support," public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan told the media outside court.
"I am very happy, I thank everyone, the public and the media," said the father of the victim who has been dubbed as "braveheart" by the Indian media as her name was not disclosed under the law.
The Indian government, which had been compelled to introduce stricter laws to punish sexual offenders, was equally jubilant. "I welcome the court verdict. The girl's family has got justice. The crime was inhuman... it was a blot on humanity," Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said.
The court had Tuesday convicted all the four suspects for the gangrape and murder of the victim last year. "They have been found guilty of gangrape, unnatural offenses, destruction of evidence... and for committing the murder of the helpless victim," Judge Khanna had said.
In fact, the police had charged all the six accused in the case, including a minor who was last month convicted of the crime and sentenced to three years in a reforms facility by a juvenile court. The main accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide in his cell at Tihar Jail in the Indian capital during the trial.
Some 100 people testified before the fast-track court in the fatal and brutal gangrape case, including the key witness -- the victim's boyfriend -- apart from the victim's dying declaration and DNA samples.
The victim was gangraped by the six men on a moving bus on Dec. 16 last year in her boyfriend's presence, after the duo had boarded the vehicle on their way home after watching a movie at a multiplex.
The woman later died of her injuries at a Singapore hospital where she was air-lifted after her condition worsened at a government hospital in the Indian capital.
Experts say the death sentence given to the four convicts will have to be ratified by Delhi High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court, according to the Indian Constitution. They can subsequently file an appeal to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee for commutation of death penalty to life in jail.
NEW DELHI, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- A fast track court in the Indian capital Wednesday reserved the delivering of quantum of punishment to four rapists convicted in the horrific Delhi gang rape last December to Friday, said local media. Full story
NEW DELHI, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- An Indian court is due to deliver on Tuesday the verdict to four rape suspects accused of the Dec. 16, 2012 gang rape in the Indian capital, which triggered unprecedented protests nationwide. Full Story
NEW DELHI, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- An Indian court Saturday found the juvenile suspect in the horrific gang rape case in Delhi last December guilty of rape and murder, giving the first verdict nearly nine months after a 23-year-old medical student was brutally raped, battered and killed by six men on a moving bus. Full Story