A court in India has sentenced the four men involved in the December rape/murder of a 23-year old woman on a New Delhi bus to death.
The presiding official, Judge Yogesh Khanna, announced the sentence in his order stating that “In these times when crime against women is on the rise, courts cannot turn a blind eye.”
The victim—whose name is protected under Indian law—was a physiotherapy student who died of severe internal injuries two weeks after the assault. The four condemned range in age from 19 to 35 and were arrested sometime after the assault.
Their names and occupations were released to the public as: Vinay Sharma (gym instructor), Mukesh Singh (driver), Pawan Gupta (a fruit seller), and Akshay Thakur (unemployed). The four plan to appeal the conviction.
A fifth defendant was said to have committed suicide in prison while the family claims he was killed. The sixth defendant was a juvenile at the age of the crime and drew three years in rehab. Due to the low amount of time given and severity of the crime, many have called for juveniles to be tried as adults in such crimes.
When news of the crime hit it resulted in intense protests across India. Lawmakers drew up faster courts, altered procedures for processing rapists and murderers, and harsher penalties in the case of sexual crimes.
As is usually the case, the minor involved in this assault wouldn’t be tried under these new laws since they were passed in the wake of the attack.
In India, the death penalty is usually held for the most severe cases. Between 2001 and 2011, some 1,455 convicts were branded with death, but only four executions were put into action in almost 20 years.
Knowing how slowly the system works, the public have called for all five surviving rapists to be killed immediately.
Amnesty International states that India is one of only 58 countries that have the death penalty in action. Police is that hangmen must be over 5’4 and adult males. Depending on the condemned’s weight, the rope will be shorter.
Ropes are tested for strength by using sandbags that are 150% of the condemned’s weight. They are usually treated with soap or butter to soften the material.
It’s unknown if the four will be executed in their lifetime given that only so few have been put to death within a 10 year period—especially given the number on death row. However in this case and the outrage that followed at the brutality of the crime, the process could be getting the lead out.