Four to hang for Dec 16 gang rape

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) As a nation waited for the judgement with bated breath, a judge Friday just took only a few minutes to sentence four men to death for the merciless gang rape of a young woman in Delhi last December resulting in her death.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, who presided over a fast-track court, said their "hair rising beastly and unparalleled behaviour" definitely qualified it as one of the "rarest of rare cases.

"Hence, I award the following punishment to each of the convict," the judge said, symbolically breaking the nib of the pen.

"Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are dead."

The four men - Mukesh (26), Pawan Gupta (19), Vinay Sharma (20) and Akshay Thakur (28)- were convicted Tuesday in the case that shook the nation and got global attention.

The judge sentenced the four to death for murdering the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist. On Tuesday he had found the four guilty on 11 counts, including murder, gang rape and dacoity.

"The subjecting of the prosecutrix (victim) to inhuman acts of torture before her death had not only shocked the collective conscience but calls for the withdrawal of the protective arm of the community around the convicts," the judgement said.

"These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes," the court said.

"The increasing trend of crimes against women can be arrested only once the society realize that there will be no tolerance from any form of deviance against women and more so in extreme cases of brutality such as the present one and hence the criminal justice system must instill confidence in the minds of people especially the women.

"The crime of such nature against a helpless women, per se, require exemplary punishment," he added.

As soon as the judge read out the sentence, Vinay Sharma fell down and started crying "Sir ji, Sir ji (please sir, please sir)" addressing the judge.

But soon the police took all the accused away.

Additional Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said after the judgement was delivered: "All I can say is that I have done my job. I have never seen brutality like this."

He added that now the judgment will go to the Delhi High Court for the confirmation and the process take a maximum of 30 days.

Mukesh's lawyer V.K. Anand said: "We will appeal in the high court. This did not deserve death sentence."

After the judgment was announced, there was loud cheering outside the District Court, Saket, where hundreds of people had gathered since noon.

The 23-year-old woman was brutally gang raped on a moving bus by six people, including a juvenile. The accused then threw her and her male companion out of the vehicle -- without clothes -- on the cold December night.

The woman died of her grave intestinal injuries Dec 29 at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

One of the six accused was found dead in a cell in Delhi's Tihar Jail while a juvenile involved in the crime was Aug 31 sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years, the maximum under the juvenile law.

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