Indian court upholds death sentence for infamous ‘Nirbhaya’ rape convicts, sets execution for March 3

Four of the men found guilty of carrying out the heinous crime will hang on March 3, the court ruled. A lawyer for one of the death row convicts said his client, Vinay Kumar Sharma, suffers from mental illness and should be spared. The judge rejected the last-minute plea – a decision which reportedly elicited applause from spectators in the courtroom.

The convicts are part of a group of men convicted of raping and murdering of a young student on a bus, who later became known as Nirbhaya (“fearless” in Hindi), in 2012. The men were sentenced to death a year later, but remained in prison for some eight years before authorities finally set their execution for January 22. However, last minute appeals have dragged out their executions.

The mother of the murdered girl told local media that she was satisfied with the decision and hoped that the executions would finally take place.

Six were originally implicated in the high-profile case. One suspect was found dead in his jail cell, while the youngest of the group, who was a minor at the time of the assault, was released after three years in juvenile detention.




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The murder caused an international outcry and inspired the Netflix miniseries ‘Delhi Crime’. In India, the case sparked protests against alleged government inaction over violence against women. Nirbhaya’s rape and murder is often cited as a major societal shift in India that led to the rise of vigilante justice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has taken steps to ensure that convicted rapists receive harsher punishments. In 2018, his cabinet approved the death penalty for those convicted of raping minors below the age of 12. The minimum sentence for those who rape children under the age of 16 was also doubled from 10 to 20 years.

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