India bus gang-rape killers to hang after final appeal turned down

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Amnesty's statement has come hours after the Supreme Court dismissed the review petition of the 4 convicts awarded death penalty in the infamous December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.

The fourth convict, Akshay had not filed a review petition against the apex court's 5 May 2017 judgement.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, maintained that a review of the Supreme Court's verdict of May 5 a year ago would have been necessary only if there were "errors resulting in miscarriage of justice". "So far the death penalty remains in the penal code, the courts can not be held to commit any illegality in awarding death penalty in appropriate cases", the top court said.

The accused, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, and Pawan Gupta, along with two others, brutally beat, tortured, and raped a 23-year-old paramedical student, Jyoti Singh, on a moving bus, before leaving her bleeding on the side of the road late in the night. A minor convict was released in December 2015 after serving three years in a detention home for juveniles, while one convict died in prison.

"The submission of (A P) Singh that death penalty has been abolished by the Parliament of United Kingdom in the year 1966 and several Latin American countries, and Australian states have also abolished death penalty, is no ground to efface death penalty from the statute book of our country", Justice Bhushan, writing the judgement for the bench, said while rejecting the review pleas filed by Vinay and Pawan.

The men had then appealed to the court to review their sentences, saying it was "cold-blooded killing in the name of Justice".

She succumbed to injuries in September 2013.

The case also put the treatment of women in the world's largest democracy in the global spotlight and led to heavier sentences for sex crimes. "The court has taken a decision against these kids (convicts) under political and media pressure", A. P. Singh told reporters.

But activists say this is just the tip of the iceberg as many victims are afraid to report the crimes due to threats by perpetrators or the social stigma attached to sexual assaults. The Delhi High Court upheld that verdict in 2014.

According to India's official records on crime, 38,947 women were raped in 2016, which included over 2,000 girls below 12 years age. However, the Centre amended the rape law to introduce the death penalty as the maximum punishment in gang rape cases.

Death sentence will be carried out in case of a refusal from the President.