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Indian court upholds death sentences over 2012 gang rape

Indian court upholds death sentences over 2012 gang rape

India's Supreme Court has turned down an appeal against the death penalty for three men convicted of a fatal gang rape in Delhi, an incident that prompted uproar at home and overseas.

"There is no material to review our order", said three judges led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, on the review petitions of Mukesh, 29, Pawan Gupta, 22 and Vinay Sharma, 23.

The bench also ruled that the three convicts were heard elaborately during the stage of their appeal against the Delhi High Court's judgement, and no case had been made out by them for review of the apex court's verdict upholding the death penalty.

Mentioning that there are no grounds to reconsider the 2017-SC verdict, the Court also stated that reviews can be sought only when there are apparent errors resulting in miscarriage of justice and that the convicts cannot use the review petition to re-argue the case.

The convicts can now file a curative plea before the Supreme Court to get their death sentence commuted.

The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapist, was gang-raped by six persons, including a juvenile, in Delhi in a moving chartered bus on December 16, 2012. She had succumbed to injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

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The sixth defendant, a minor accused of pulling out part of the woman's intestines with his own hand, was sent to a reform home for three years and has since been released. The four convicts-Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay and Akshay-were awarded death sentence by a Delhi trial court in 2013.

"The Supreme Court upholding its verdict is a strong message to those who commit such heinous crimes". Challenging the Supreme Court's verdict, Mukesh had past year filed a review petition alleging that the court had not properly examined crucial evidence in the case.

Jyoti Singh's parents welcomed the ruling on Monday, with her mother Asha Singh saying it was "very happy news".

The bus driver, the fifth suspect in the crime, was found hanging in his cell in a prison in March 2013, months before the suspects were convicted.

The brutal attack prompted widespread protests throughout the country, sparked a new debate about women's safety in India and resulted in strict changes to the country's rape laws which now allows for the death penalty in some rape cases. "The stringent measures taken by our government are working and will act as a strong deterrent for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes", she said. However, the Centre amended the rape law to introduce the death penalty as the maximum punishment in gang rape cases. The accused appealed to the supreme court, which eventually delivered its judgment confirming the death penalty in May 2017.