NEW DELHI, Sept 11 (Reuters) : A judge will deliver his sentence on Friday against four men convicted of killing a woman they gang-raped and tortured on a bus in New Delhi, a case that triggered outrage across the country and widespread demands for the guilty to be hanged.
Judge Yogesh Khanna told the court sentencing would take place at 2.30pm on Friday.
Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for the four men, saying it was important to send a signal to the country that such crimes would not be tolerated.
“The sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death,” special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan told the court.
”The common man will lose faith in the judiciary if the harshest punishment is not given,” he said.
Bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, fruit-seller Pawan Gupta, and unemployed Mukesh Singh, convicted of raping and murdering the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist last December, stood at the back of the courtroom surrounded by policemen. Wearing T-shirts, they showed no emotion as Krishnan spoke.
The parents of the victim, who may not be identified for legal reasons, sat just feet away from the men.
The judge, who found the four guilty of ”cold-blooded” murder on Tuesday, was hearing arguments from the prosecution and defence on sentencing. The minimum sentence the men could receive is life in prison.
”There is no element of sympathy in the way in which the hapless woman was tortured,” Krishnan said in laying out the prosecution's case for execution.
The men had used a metal rod and their hands to pull the woman's organs from her body after raping her, he said. Her injuries were so severe that she died in hospital two weeks after the Dec. 16 attack on a bus.
All four of the men denied the charges.
Three of them said they were never on the bus, and another said he was driving the bus and knew nothing of the crime. The prosecution said DNA evidence and bite marks on the woman's body placed the men at the scene.
Under Indian law the death penalty is reserved for the ”rarest of rare” cases. Even when it is imposed, the authorities rarely carry out executions.
The case has resonated with thousands of urban Indians who took to the streets in fury after the attack. The victim became a symbol of the daily dangers women face in a country where a rape is reported on average every 21 minutes and acid attacks and incidents of molestation are common.