India Delhi bus gang rapists lose death row plea

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India's Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death penalty for three men convicted in the gang rape of a young woman in Delhi in 2012, a landmark case that brought an unprecedented level of attention to violence against women in the country.

The court also said that the hearing on the appeals against the Delhi High Court judgement confirming the death sentence lasted 38 days as the lawyers for the four convicts were given full opportunity to state their case. It said the convicts were heard elaborately during appeals and no grounds have been made out for review of its verdict.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was attacked on a bus as she and a male friend returned from watching a film in December 2012. She succumbed to injuries on 29 December 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The juvenile convicted in the case by the Juvenile Justice Board was released from a reform home after serving a three-year term.

The men had then appealed to the court to review their sentences, saying it was "cold-blooded killing in the name of Justice".

A fast track court had covicted four to death in less than year after the brutal gang-rape and murder of the paramedic student.

The case, which scarred the nation, had headlined across the world, triggering big changes to laws on sexual crimes against women.

They have now exhausted all their legal options but can still file a mercy petition before India's president.

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Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh had challenged the court's 2017 ruling upholding their death penalty.

Singh, lawyer of two convicts, Pawan and Vinay told ANI he is hopeful that his clients would get justice. Mar 13, 2014 Delhi High Court upheld the trial court's verdict.

But activists say this is just the tip of the iceberg as many victims are afraid to report the crimes due to threats by perpetrators or the social stigma attached to sexual assaults.

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.

The girl from the northern Jammu region died after she was kidnapped, drugged and gang raped by several men for days at a Hindu temple.

More than 1,300 people have been sentenced to death in the past decade, and India ranks 10th globally in the number of sentences handed down. The remaining four accused were sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge.

"The convicts must be immediately hanged to death", he said.