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India High Court upholds gang-rape death sentences

Vinay Sharma, one of the accused, is led into court in September 2013

Four men accused in a rape trial that has both shocked and gripped India had their appeals for clemency quashed Thursday, as the victim’s family welcomed the judgment.

The four were initially sentenced to death last September for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman — who cannot be identified — in December 2012. The case appalled the nation, leading to a strengthening of the country’s laws protecting women.

Two female judges, Justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani of the High Court of Delhi upheld the death penalty for four of the six men, Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh. A fifth, Ram Singh, hanged himself while in custody last year and the sixth, a minor when the crime was committed, was sentenced to a maximum of three years in a juvenile facility.

“We have got full faith in the judiciary. We had expected this verdict. But the ultimate satisfaction will be when the convicts meet their ultimate fate,” the victim’s mother told reporters outside the High Court.

“My family … we are quite happy with the decision. We are all accepting this (ruling). It will change some things in India. It will lead to a good change in India,” the brother of the victim told CNN by phone.

Campaigners and the victim’s family are also seeking the death penalty for the youngest of the accused. “He has got only three years. It’s not enough. Almost all Indians want to see (the death penalty) for him,” he said.

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