Four men convicted of the 2012 gang rape and murder of a New Delhi student are set to be executed on Friday, the victim’s lawyer said after a court dismissed a last-minute petition to delay the hangings.
The attack on Jyoti Singh on a city bus, which caused international outrage and led to nationwide demonstrations, highlighted an alarming rate of sexual violence in India.
“The court rejected their petition and said they have exhausted all their legal rights. The hangings will take place on Friday at the scheduled time,” Singh’s lawyer Seema Kushwaha told reporters on Thursday.
Earlier this month, a Delhi court issued death warrants setting March 20 as the date for the execution of the convicts in the city’s Tihar Jail.
“The executions are set for 5.30am local time on Friday in the gallows area,” jail spokesman Raj Kumar said.
“The hangman has been performing dummy hangings, essentially to check the strength of the ropes,” he said.
Three of the convicts had their last meetings with family members, during which they broke down inconsolably, local media reported.
Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, was gang-raped and heavily injured on a moving bus in the Indian capital on December 16, 2012. She died nearly two weeks later at a Singapore hospital.
‘No legal remedy’
In hearings on Thursday, the Supreme Court and a trial court rejected petitions by the convicts’ lawyers to stop the executions.
“There is no legal remedy pending in any court and the mercy petitions have been rejected by the president, so there is no impediment to the hangings,” public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed said.
Singh’s mother Asha Devi welcomed the ruling and said her “daughter’s soul will finally rest in peace”.
The developments came amid dramatic scenes outside the trial court where the wife of one of the convicts threatened to kill herself.
The convicts used every possible manoeuvre to delay the executions, taking turns to file repeated petitions.
Earlier this week, the convicts’ families called on President Ram Nath Kovind to demand euthanasia, saying they could not bear the humiliation and injustice of being hanged.
In India, about 400 people are on death row, but so far, no one has been executed since 2015.