India Gang Rape Convicts Sentenced to Death
Kristen M. Foster
Friday’s decision is death for the four men—Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur—convicted of gang raping and murdering a young woman in December 2012 in New Delhi, India. NPR reporters say the announcement by the presiding judge, “took all of 90 seconds.” Reportedly, one of the four sentenced, 20-year-old Vinay Sharma, “shrieked and slumped,” and cheers were heard from those spectators waiting outside.
The victim’s father stated, “I am very happy our girl has got justice.”
The judge signed the sentence for the men and then broke the pen he used in half, “symbolizing the hope that he would not have to impose the death penalty again.” There are still appeals that are likely to be filed, and, according to the Associated Press, the Indian High Court has final say in confirming death sentences.
Defense lawyer A.P. Singh, who has apparently worked with all of the defendants, shouted at the judge, “This is not the victory of truth. But it is the defeat of justice.”
The other men deemed complicit in the crime are Ram Singh, who hanged himself in prison, and an 18-year-old man who is now serving three years in a reform home, the maximum punishment available as he was a juvenile at the time of the attacks. Ram Singh’s family suspects his death was in fact a murder.
Though the plight of the victim and others like her is rightly what is calling most of the attention to this story, the convicts’ existence on the lowest rungs of society has also been repeatedly referenced. Mukesh Singh drove the bus where the attacks were committed at times and cleaned it, as did the 18-year-old convicted last August. Thakur also occasionally worked on the bus as a driver’s assistant. Sharma, who worked at a gym as an assistant, is the only one of the group to have a high school diploma.[Images via Times of India Facebook.]