India Gives the Death Penalty

India Gives the Death Penalty

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Indians sing devotional songs during a gathering to mourn the death of a 23-year old rape victim in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013.

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Friday, the four men who brutally raped and killed a 23-year-old New Delhi woman in December 2012 were sentenced to death.

Judge Yogesh Khanna sentenced the men with the death penalty, an exceptionally rare sentence in the country. The only other people to obtain the death penalty since 2004, when India's Supreme Court established the penalty, were two terrorists.

But Khanna said that the atrocity was so great that it fell into the "rarest of rare category," reports CNN. "In these times, when crimes against women is on the rise, the courts cannot turn a blind eye toward such gruesome crimes," he said.

[READ: India Poised To Establish Death Penalty For Repeat Fatal Rapes ]

While one of the four men began bawling after the death sentence was read, outside the courtroom protesters in the streets cheered and celebrated, with signs that read "hang the rapists," and "a woman's life is the foundation, do not defile it.".

The victim's family welcomed the judge's verdict.

"I am very happy our girl has got justice," said the victim's father whose name has been withheld..

India's High Court must approve the sentencing, as they must do with all capital punishment cases. But with the pressure the Indian government has felt to crack down on sexual violence, many believe the execution sentence will stick.

"Justice was given to that girl and her family," said Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

However not all see the verdict as justice being served. Some human rights groups say the outcome only promotes "short-term revenge."

[ALSO: Four Men Found Guilty In Brutal India Gang Rape Case ]

The men's' defense lawyer also believes the decision was unjust, and that politics were the chief rationale behind the judgment. "The punishment has been given at the government's insistence," said A.P.Singh.

The case, which garnered worldwide attention, has brought attention to problems of domestic and sexual violence against women in the country. The Indian government has subsequently stepped up enforcement of crimes against women.

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