A gang rape and murder of a 23 year-old university student on a bus in India in December 2012 has set off an international firestorm over the state of women’s rights and public safety in the world’s second most populous country. Now, the prosecutors of the four perpetrators are seeking the death penalty for the sexual assault and murder.
In the December 2012 sexual assault, four young men accosted the victim and her friend on a public bus and began to strike the victim and her friend with a metallic bar. The four men proceeded to rape and beat the victim as the bus rode its route. The attackers then dumped the victim’s body, naked and bloodied, on the side of a road. The victim was taken to a hospital where the doctors tried to save her life. After a few days, however, the victim passed away from the personal injuries sustained in the sexual assault.
The case set off a firestorm inside India and across the world. Since December 2012, hundreds of mass marches and demonstrations have been held in India – protesting the condition of women in Indian society. The case and its aftermath have already achieved a certain measure of change. Every case of sexual assault in India is now receiving widespread media coverage, which keeps the public apprised of the frequency and brutality of these incidents. The Indian government has passed into law new crimes for voyeurism and stalking, as well as harsher punishments for sexual assault, and even new “fast-track” courts for rape cases.
On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, Judge Yogesh Khanna found the four defendants – Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Kumar Singh – guilty of murder, rape and kidnapping. Judge Khanna also found that the actions of the four defendants were premeditated and performed with “coldblooded” and brutal calculation.
At a Wednesday, September 11 hearing, the prosecution and the defense made their respective cases with regard to sentencing. The prosecutors asked for the death penalty for all four defendants. The Indian Supreme Court has previously held that the death penalty can only be imposed in the most exceptional cases, in which the crime is committed in “an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner so as to arouse intense and extreme indignation of the community.” The prosecutors are arguing that the crime fits within this definition. The defense lawyers for the four defendants are arguing that life imprisonment is the appropriate sentence in this case. The defense lawyers have also announced that they will appeal the judge’s determination of the defendants’ guilt.
Judge Khanna is scheduled to deliver the sentence on Friday, September 13.
Sexual assault and sexual harassment are entirely intolerable crimes in a civilized society. If you or someone you know suffered a personal injury as a result of a Massachusetts sexual assault or sexual harassment, please call 617-787-3700 right now to protect all of your legal rights and remedies. Our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys, Boston, Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyers and Boston, Massachusetts wrongful death accident attorneys are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist you in recovering the personal injury damages or wrongful death damages that you and your family deserve.
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