Four Convicted in Delhi Gang Rape

by Gillian White

A highly-watched case in India has ended with four men facing the death penalty.

On Tuesday, the men, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta, were convicted of the brutal rape of a 23-year-old woman, who died 10 days after the attack due to massive internal injuries.

A fifth suspect was also arrested, but was found dead in his prison cell in March. Prison officials said he hanged himself, though his family says they suspect he was murdered.

The convicted rapists lured the victim, who was a physiotherapy student, and a male friend onto an out-of-service bus in the Indian capital of Delhi. They then beat them both and raped the woman, dumping both of them along the road afterward. Before her death, the woman was able to provide the police with some details about her attackers, which aided in their capture.

The case sparked a huge public outcry both in India and around the world about the treatment of women within the country, leading to days of protests across India. More recently, an American photojournalist was gang raped in Mumbai.

In the decision, Judge Yogesh Khanna said, "I convict all of the accused. They have been found guilty of gang rape, unnatural offenses, destruction of evidence... and for committing the murder of the helpless victim."

After the verdict, the father of the victim said "We are happy with the conviction. Now we expect the judge to sentence all of them to death. We will get complete closure only if all the accused are wiped off from the face of the earth. This is what they did to our daughter most brutally."

Crowds outside the courtroom echoed the sentiment, chanting "Hang them!"

The male friend who was with the victim during the time of the attack also spoke, saying "They wanted us to die. Now, I want them to die and she also wanted them to die... She wanted them to be set on fire."

Arguments prior to sentencing will begin on Wednesday. Lawyers for the four men have said that some of their confessions, which were later retracted, were coerced by torture in prison. Lawyers say the plan to appeal the conviction.