Three men WILL be executed over gang-rape and murder of student

Mukesh Singh at Delhi High Court under high security on September 24, 2013 (Image: Hindustan Times)

Three men will be executed over the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a Delhi bus.

Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh have always pleaded their innocence and fought against their death sentences for years.

But India’s Supreme Courty upheld the penalties in a ruling yesterday.

Jyoti Singh, a physiotherapy student, was raped and left for dead by a gang of five men and a teenager on a bus in the Indian capital New Delhi in December 2012.

The horrifying attack was landmark case that has brought an unprecedented level of attention to violence against women in the country.

The men have now exhausted all their legal options but can still file a mercy petition before India’s president.

Vinay Sharma at Delhi High Court under high security on September 24, 2013 (Image: Hindustan Times)
Pawan Gupta has been sentenced to death for his crimes (Image: Rex Features)

The victim’s mother told media that the Supreme Court ruling was “justice for all”.

“I have been struggling for six years, and today I am satisfied that justice has been delivered,” Asha Devi said.

“The latest ruling has strengthened my belief in our justice system.”

Jyoti was coming home from the cinema with a male friend when a six-strong gang beat the man unconscious before raping and torturing her.

She was assaulted with an iron bar as the private bus drove loops for 45 minutes.

She was dumped on the streets suffering horrific internal injuries and died 13 days later in hospital.

Mukesh Singh has been sentenced to death (Image: Rex Features)

The brutality of the attack, and her determination to survive long enough to identify her attackers to police, triggered angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people in Delhi and nationwide.

The case also put the treatment of women in the world’s largest democracy in the global spotlight and led to heavier sentences for sex crimes.

But six years later, there are few signs sexual violence against women is abating.

In 2016, there were around 40,000 rapes reported in India – up 60 percent from 2012, according to government data, and more cases go unreported, activists say.

Jyoti Singh gang rape
Badri Nath Singh and Gaurav Singh, father and brother of Delhi gang rape victim Jyoti Singh, in 2013(Image: Rex)
“Crimes against women will keep on rising unless the criminals are sent to the gallows,” Jyoti’s father Badrinath Singh told reporters after the Supreme Court ruling.
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A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra dismissed petitions filed by the men to review a 2017 order by the top court, which had confirmed the death penalty given to them by the Delhi High Court.

“There is no merit in the petitions,” said Justice Ashok Bhushan, who read out the judgment.

The three men had asked the Supreme Court to consider less severe punishment.

Vinay Sharma also received the death penalty (Image: Rex Features)

A fourth man, Akshay Thakur, did not petition the court to review his death sentence.

A fifth man, Ram Singh, the suspected ringleader, was found dead in jail in a suspected suicide.

A 17-year-old also involved was sentenced to three years in a detention centre and has since been released.

Following the 2012 case, India launched fast-track courts and a tougher rape law in April this year that included the death penalty for rape of girls below 12.

Neverthless, more rape cases have come to light since then, and it remains hard for victims to receive timely justice.

The conviction rate of people arrested for rape was 25 percent in 2016, while the backlog of rape cases pending trial stood at more than 133,000 by the end of that year, up from about 100,000 in 2012.

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