Nirbhaya rape case: Amnesty says executions don't eradicate crime against women

Frederick Owens
July 10, 2018

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death penalty of three men convicted of raping and murdering a woman in New Delhi in December 2012, reported ANI.

The fourth man convicted in the case, Akshay Thakur, did not file an appeal but his lawyer says he plans to do so.

A review petition is entertained on the grounds of judicial fallibility, miscarriage of justice or error in the earlier SC judgment. "So far the death penalty remains in the penal code, the courts can not be held to commit any illegality in awarding death penalty in appropriate cases", the top court said.

The mother of Nirbhaya - the 23-year-old medical student whose horrific gangrape and torture and tortured in a moving bus in Delhi had appalled and outraged the nation six years ago - today welcomed the Supreme Court order that confirmed that the five men responsible will hang.

The woman died of internal injuries almost two weeks later in a Singapore hospital. The juvenile convicted in the case by the Juvenile Justice Board was released from a reform home after serving a three-year term.

The case also put the treatment of women in the world's largest democracy in the global spotlight and led to a stiffening of sentences for sex crimes. The culprits arrested were Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Ram Singh and another young man who was just short of his 18th birthday.

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Four men were convicted in September 2013 for murder, gang rape, theft, conspiracy and "unnatural acts" after a seven-month trial in a fast-track court.

The convicted assailants have not yet exhausted all legal options - they can still seek a curative petition from the court for example - so the process may drag out for years.

In its previous judgement, the SC had said that "the brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature" of the crime was capable of creating "a tsunami of shock" that could destroy a civilised society. Their appeals were dismissed by the Delhi High Court, which eventually led to the appeal in Supreme Court.

According to India's official records on crime, 38,947 women were raped in 2016, which included over 2,000 girls below 12 years age. She succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital, triggering huge protests across the country. The remaining four accused were sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge.

Death sentence will be carried out in case of a refusal from the President.

"What has happened between the confirmation of death sentence and now - there is no diminution of sexual violence against women", Grower said.

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