Monday 18 December 2017

Four convicted over India bus rape

The four men convicted over a fatal gang rape on a moving bus in India arrive at a court in New Delhi (AP)
The four men convicted over a fatal gang rape on a moving bus in India arrive at a court in New Delhi (AP)
Indian protestors stage a mock hanging to demand the death sentence for four men convicted over the fatal gang rape of a young woman (AP)

An Indian court has convicted four men over the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a moving bus in New Delhi last December.

Sentences for the men, who face the possibility of hanging, are expected to be handed down on Wednesday.

The brutal attack set off waves of protest in India, giving voice to years of anger over the treatment of women and a silent epidemic of sexual harassment and rape.

The men, along with another suspect who hanged himself in prison and a juvenile who was convicted in August, were riding through the city on an off-duty bus in December when they tricked the 23-year-old woman and a male friend into boarding.

They beat the woman's friend into submission, then held her down and repeatedly raped her. They also assaulted her with an iron rod, causing severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks later. As a rape victim, the woman cannot be identified under Indian law.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the court, calling the case a wake-up call for India and demanding the death penalty for the men.

"Every girl at any age experiences this - harassment or rape. We don't feel safe," said law school graduate Rapia Pathania. "That's why we're here. We want this case to be an example for every other case that has been filed and will be filed."

Reading out his verdict, Judge Yogesh Khanna said the men had committed "murder of a helpless person".

The parents of the rape victim had tears in their eyes as the verdicts were read out. The woman's mother, wearing a pink sari, sat just a few feet from the convicted men in a tiny courtroom jammed with lawyers, police and reporters.

AP Singh, a lawyer for the men, said all were innocent. He told reporters: "These accused have been framed simply to please the public. This is not a fair trial."

Press Association

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