, NEW DELHI, Sep 13 – Four men will learn Friday if they are to hang for the shocking murder and gang rape of an Indian student after her parents begged for the “cold-blooded” killers’ execution.
Three days after finding the gang guilty of a murderous assault which sickened a nation, Judge Yogesh Khanna will announce whether it fulfils the “rarest of rare” criteria for crimes that merit capital punishment.
There has been a huge clamour for the four Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh to be executed for their attack on a 23-year-old physiotherapy student and her male companion on board a bus on December 16.
After prosecution lawyers argued on Wednesday the gang were guilty of a “diabolical” crime, the victim’s mother implored the judge to hand down the death sentence.
“We beg the court that justice should be given to our daughter,” said the mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her late daughter.
“It was not merely a mistake, they planned and killed her mercilessly,” she told reporters.
The victim’s father has said only the death penalty can bring the family some closure.
India had an unofficial eight year moratorium on capital punishment until last November when the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks was executed. Weeks later, a Kashmiri was hanged over his role in an attack on parliament a decade ago.
During Wednesday’s hearing, defence lawyers argued Judge Khanna should resist “political pressure” and instead jail the gang for life, citing the youth of their clients who are all in their teens or 20s.
The gang’s relatives have also been pleading for their lives to be spared.
“I am hopeful that God will help us during the worst crisis in our life,” Thakur’s mother told AFP from the family’s home in the state of Bihar where she has been praying to Hindu deities all week.
Handing down his verdict at the end of a seven month trial Tuesday, Khanna found the men guilty of the “cold-blooded” murder of a “helpless victim” whose fight for life won her the nickname of Braveheart.