Delhi bus gang-rape trial: Four men face death penalty

India receives an answer over the attack and killing of a medical student on a bus in the capital last December, as the men face sentencing - and the prospect of capital punishment - tomorrow

Delhi

An Indian court has convicted the four men accused of the gang-rape and murder of a medical student on a bus in the capital Delhi last year – a crime that stunned the country and sparked a debate about the position of women in Indian society.

A judge in Delhi announced the verdict this morning, finding the men guilty of more than a dozen charges they all faced. The punishment is to be set on Wednesday when it is likely the judge will sentence the men to be hanged.

“I convict all of the accused,” said the judge, Yogesh Khanna, according to reporters inside the small, packed courtroom. “They have been found guilty of gang rape, unnatural offences, destruction of evidence.. and for committing the murder of the helpless victim.”

The parents of the young woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were in the court, seated just a few feet from the four men. The mother wiped a tear from her face as the judge made his announcement. Police then hurried the men out of the court and drove them back to jail.

During the seven-month trial, held in a specially established fast-track court and from which the media was prohibited from attending large parts of, prosecutors said that bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, fruit-seller Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh, who was  unemployed, lured the woman and a male friend onto a bus on the night of 16 December as the pair returned home from watching a movie.

As the men drove the bus through the streets of Delhi, they repeatedly raped and internally assaulted the 23-year-old with a metal bar before stripping her and her friend naked and throwing them from the vehicle. The bus was usually driven by Ram Singh, another of those originally charged but who was found hanging in his cell earlier this year.

The young woman’s friend, Awindra Pandey, recovered from his injuries but the physiotherapy student died two week later in a hospital in Singapore where she had been sent for specialist emergency treatment.

On Tuesday, lawyers for the convicted men insisted their clients were innocent and said they would appeal against the verdict.

AP Singh, who represents Akshay Kumar Singh and Vinay Sharma, said the two men were not present on the bus and played no part in the attack. “They were expecting to be found guilty even though they are not,” he said.

VK Anand, who represents Mukesh Singh, brother of the late Ram Singh, said his client had been driving the bus but that he had not been involved in the attack itself. “His role was very limited,” claimed the lawyer. “He had a certain role, a very limited role in the case.”

As Mr Anand spoke to reporters outside the courtroom, the parents of Mukesh and Ram Singh sat, bent over double, and sobbed. They were too upset to comment.

The court where judge Yogesh Khanna heard the case is located just yards from the shopping mall where the victim and Mr Pandey watched the film Life of Pi on the evening of the attack. During the trial, the judge heard 85 prosecution and 17 defence witnesses in a total of 117 hearings.

In the aftermath of the December 16 attack, police arrested six males, including a teenager who was aged 17 at the time of the assault. 10 days ago, the teenager, now aged 18, was also convicted of gang-rape and murder and sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention facility as he was a minor at the time of the crime. This was the the maximum punishment available to the court.

On Tuesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the court dressed as hangmen, demanding that the men be sentenced to death. The group, December 16 Revolution, also wants the government to introduce more fast-track courts and to recognise marital rape as a crime.

“We are hoping they will be hanged,” said one of the protesters, Vikas Tyagi. “If people know they will get the death sentence such cases will stop.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine