Four men who raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi were sentenced to death Friday for their brutal crime, CNN reported.
Spectators outside the courtroom cheered for the death sentences and called for the death of a fifth person involved, a 17-year-old boy, who was sentenced to three years in a juvenile facility. “Hang the juvenile,” was chanted throughout the packed corridors in the courthouse, CNN reported.
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The horrific crime, which occurred when the woman and a male friend boarded a bus and were attacked by the drunken men and the teenager, shocked the Indian nation and resulted in passage of more severe penalties for rape.
“In these times when crimes against women are on the rise, the court cannot turn a blind eye to this gruesome act,” said Judge YogeshKhanna, calling this a crime that “shocked the collective conscience” of the country.
When the verdict was read, convict Vinay Sharma started crying, MSN reported. The other three, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and MukeshShingh, all began yelling for pardon.
At least one defense attorney said he will file an appeal on the verdict.
Although many picketers — and the woman’s family — expressed satisfaction with the verdict, human rights organizations spoke out against the death penalty.
“Those responsible must be punished, but the death penalty is never the answer,” Tara Rao, director of Amnesty International India, told CNN. “Sending these four men to the gallows will accomplish nothing except short-term revenge.”
Death sentences have been rare in India in the past decade, but the harsh penalty might become more common, according to Meenakshi Ganguly, director of Human Rights Watch.
“In the past year, India has made a full-scale retreat from its previous principled rejection of the death penalty,” Meenakshi said.
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