The four men convicted for December’s notorious gang rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi, India, were sentenced to death on Friday.
“It took all of 90 seconds” for the judge to announce his decision and then leave the courtroom, NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi. One of the four convicted men “shrieked and slumped,” while outside a cheer went up when spectators heard the news, she adds.
As NPR has previously reported, “the horrific crime stirred a national debate over the country’s lax prosecution of crimes against women and became an international issue as well.” There were protests across the country and the government was pressured into toughening the laws about violence against women and sexual assault.
Earlier this week, after the men’s conviction, Julie spoke about how the judge “went to great lengths to describe the crime”:
“He talked about how they lured this woman onto a bus. They turned off the lights. She believed she was on a normal bus; she wasn’t at all. They pinned her down. They took turns raping her.
“They threw her off the bus naked. They stole all her belongings. And everyone was found equally guilty. So guilty on gang rape, guilty for murder, guilty for kidnapping and unnatural offenses, which really speaks to the brutality of this attack.”
Last month, a juvenile defendant was also found guilty. He was given the maximum sentence for someone his age — three years in detention.
Another man accused in the case was found hanging in his jail cell back in March. While authorities have said he committed suicide, the man’s family has alleged that foul play was involved in his death.
We’ll have more about the men’s sentencing later. They can appeal their cases, and death penalties must be confirmed by India’s High Court before being carried out, The Associated Press says.