India’s Supreme Court on Friday upheld the ruling of a lower court that sentenced to death four men convicted for the 2012 brutal gang rape of young woman, who later died. Jyoti Singh Pandey, a young physiotherapy student who became known as Nirbhaya (“the fearless one”), was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi in by at least six men, who took turns raping her and violated her with an iron rod for nearly an hour. She died two weeks later of the resulting wounds and reportedly told her mother, “I want them burned alive,” while in the hospital.
After the case sparked global outrage, six men were eventually arrested — one died in prison, one received a lesser sentence, while the other four were sentenced to death in September 2013, but went on to appeal the ruling. When India’s top court upheld their sentence on Friday, onlookers in the courtroom erupted in applause. The men will now be executed, a rare occurrence in the country (only three executions have been carried out in the last 10 years).
“We are very happy that (the) Supreme Court has heard our voice, and that they understood Nirbhaya’s pain in this matter, and that along with Nirbhaya the whole country has found justice,” the victim’s father, Badrinath Singh, told reporters. “We need to work so that the type of crime that happened to Nirbhaya will not happen again,” Asha Singh, the victim’s mother, said at a press briefing. “This fight is not ours alone. This is every man’s fight. This is everyone’s fight. This is every woman’s fight.”
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