Family demand hanging ahead of Delhi gang rape verdict

Family demand hanging ahead of Delhi gang rape verdict
Police escort men (face covered) accused of a gang rape, outside a police station in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi August 31, 2013.

NEW DELHI - A court will hand down its verdict on four men accused of murder and gang rape Tuesday over an attack on a bus that sparked mass protests across India, as the victim's family calls for them to hang.

The parents of the popular physiotherapy student have been at the forefront of calls for the men to face the death sentence over the December 16 attack in New Delhi, which also triggered new anti-rape laws.

Their 23-year-old daughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, died of her injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.

The four men, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, have all pleaded not guilty to the charges which include murder, rape and theft.

A juvenile has already been sentenced to three years in a correctional facility, while a fifth adult defendant, bus driver Ram Singh, was found hanging in his prison cell in March while awaiting trial.

The seven-month trial has been held in a special fast-track court in south Delhi, with more than 100 witnesses called to give evidence, including 85 for the prosecution.

Despite an initial gagging order on the trial, the case has drawn huge media interest and about 20 TV trucks were outside the court on Tuesday morning, according to an AFP journalist.

Presiding judge Yogesh Khanna said last week that he would deliver his verdict on September 10 after dismissing requests from defence lawyers for more time.

But last-minute legal challenges could still delay Tuesday's verdict. The sentence against the juvenile was deferred four times before being handed down.

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