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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'