Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Convicted Indian rapist shouts, 'I am innocent!'

11 September 2013, 09:36

New Delhi - One of the men convicted in the fatal gang rape of a young Indian woman called out his innocence on Wednesday as police drove him into the courthouse where he and three others faced the possibility of death sentences. Minutes later, the prosecutor called for all four men to be hanged.

It was not clear which of the four men was shouting, because his face was obscured behind the police van's heavy metal mesh, but he repeatedly called out, "I am innocent! I am innocent!" as the van drove past a scrum of reporters.

A court convicted the men on Tuesday in the December gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving New Delhi bus, a brutal crime that galvanised public anger over the sexual violence faced by Indian women. The woman died two weeks after the attack.

The four face either life imprisonment or death by hanging. Calls for the men to be executed have grown increasingly loud, with everyone from the victim's parents to top political leaders demanding the men be sentenced to death.

On Wednesday, as their sentencing hearing began, prosecutor Dayan Krishnan called for the death penalty, saying "there can be nothing more diabolic than a helpless girl put through torture".

He said the crime shocked India's "collective conscience," and noted the police report showed the men pulled out some of the victim's body parts after savagely penetrating her with an iron rod

Exceptional cases

The four men stood or sat in T-shirts or short-sleeved polo shirts as arguments began, unshackled and with policemen holding them from both sides. They appeared impassive, though it was not clear how much they understood of the proceedings. English is the main language of India's court system but only one of the men, Vinay Sharma, speaks any English. They had no translator.

A defence lawyer, VK Sharma, asked for sentences of life imprisonment, noting that Indian law calls for execution only in very exceptional cases. The men's lawyers have long said they are innocent, and any confessions had been coerced by police torture.

The family of the victim watched from a few rows from the judge's bench, the father's eyes half-closed.

In addition to their confessions, the men were identified by the woman's male friend who was with her on the night of the attack. The two were coming home from a movie when the men tricked them into boarding a bus they were joy-riding.

They quickly beat the friend into submission, held the woman down and took turns raping her. They also penetrated her with the rod, causing severe internal injuries that led to her death.

The woman, who cannot be identified under Indian law, had been supported by her parents as she tried to climb into India's growing middle class. At the time of the rape, she was awaiting her exam results after finishing a degree in physiotherapy.

The defendants, like the victim, come from poor and ill-educated families. One, Mukesh Singh, occasionally drove the bus where the crime occurred and cleaned it. Another, Vinay Sharma, was a 20-year-old assistant at a gym and the only one of the attackers to graduate from high school. Akshay Thakur, aged 28, occasionally worked as a driver's helper on the bus. Pawan Gupta, aged 19, was a fruit seller.

With them on the bus were two other men. Police say Ram Singh, aged 33, hanged himself in prison, though his family insists he was murdered. He was the brother of Mukesh Singh, who was convicted on Tuesday.

Another man - an 18-year-old who was a juvenile at the time of the attack and cannot be identified under Indian law - was convicted in August and will serve the maximum sentence he faced, three years in a reform home.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...