NEW DELHI – A judge Friday sentenced to death the four men convicted in the December gang rape and murder of a young New Delhi woman, ordering them to the gallows for a brutal attack on a moving bus that left the young woman with such severe internal injuries that she died two weeks later.
Handing down the sentence, Judge Yogesh Khanna said that “courts cannot turn a blind eye” to such crimes, saying the attack “shocked the collective conscience” of India.
One of the four, 20-year-old Vinay Sharma, broke down as the sentence was read, his wail filling the tiny courtroom. Sharma was an assistant at a gym and the only one of the attackers to graduate from high school.
The sentence must be confirmed by India’s High Court. The men can appeal their case to the Supreme Court, and ask the president for clemency.
The victim’s family, along with numerous politicians and government officials, had long called for the men to be executed.
“I am very happy our girl has got justice,” said the victim’s father, who cannot be named under Indian laws guarding his daughter’s identity as a rape victim. The case has been closely followed across India, seen as a reflection on rampant mistreatment of women and the government’s inability to deal with crime.