A death warrant was issued Tuesday for the four men convicted in the 2012 gang rape and murder of a young woman on a New Delhi bus that galvanized protests across India and brought global attention to the country’s sexual violence epidemic.
A New Delhi court scheduled the hangings for January 22, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
The warrant has been anticipated since India’s Supreme Court rejected one of the men’s final review pleas last month. India’s president can still intercede, but that is not expected to happen.
The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student whom Indian media dubbed “Nirbhaya,” or “Fearless,” because Indian law prohibits rape victims from being identified, was heading home with a male friend from a movie theater when six men lured them onto a bus.
With no one else in sight, they beat the man with a metal bar, raped the woman and used the bar to inflict massive internal injuries to her. The pair were dumped naked on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later.
The assailants were tried relatively quickly in a country where sexual assault cases often languish for years. Four defendants were sentenced to death.
Another hanged himself in prison before his trial began, though his family insists he was killed. The sixth assailant was a minor at the time of the attack and was sentenced to three years in a reform home.