India: Death sentence sought in Delhi rape case, decision expected Friday (VIDEO)


An Indian protester shouts slogans during a protest against the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi in December.


Sajjad Hussain

Four men convicted of gang-raping a young woman on a bus in Delhi last December will be sentenced on Friday, an Indian judge said Wednesday, according to India Today

The men — who were found guilty of all charges against them, including rape and murder, on Tuesday — could face the death penalty. 

Lawyers for three of the accused have said they will appeal the convictions.

"Until today, I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady," Manohar Lal Sharma, one of the lawyers, said in a public statement, blaming the victim for the sexual assault.

Protests erupted throughout India after the Dec. 16 attack on the 23-year-old woman, who died soon afterward.

The case, which drew international condemnation and sparked heated debate over the treatment of women in India, has been closely watched over the last seven months.

The victim's family has been leading calls for the death sentence for the four accused: Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh.

"Our fight for justice does not end here," the victim's mother said, according to India Today. "We want the accused to be hanged."

V.K. Sharma, one of the lawyers for the accused, urged leniency.

"The court must bear in mind that life imprisonment is the rule and the death sentence is the exception," he told the court, according to CNN

The woman was assaulted by a group of men after boarding a private bus in Delhi, while accompanied by a male friend. The men knocked her male friend unconscious, and then turned on the young female student, according to the prosecution.

She was gang-raped and brutalized with a metal rod at the back of the bus. The naked bodies of both victims were later found on the road. 

Here's a video report from CNN: