Mumbai Gang Rape: Three Sentenced to Death

Apr 04, 2014 at 2:18 PM ET

In the first case to invoke India’s new laws mandating harsher punishment for repeated sex crimes, a Mumbai court on Friday sentenced three men to death for the gang rape of two women.

Weeks ago, a court found the men—Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Salim Ansari—guilty of raping a telephone operator and a photojournalist on two separate occasions last summer.

The three men were sentenced under the new rape laws put in place in the aftermath of a gruesome 2012 gang rape in Delhi that sparked a national outcry.

The new laws mandate a minimum sentence of life in prison for those convicted of multiple rapes. The maximum penalty is execution, which in this case, the judge felt was merited.

“The gang rape accused were not only enjoying the act of sexual assault but also the survivor’s helplessness,” Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said during the sentencing.

“It was executed in the most gruesome manner with no mercy or show of human dignity to the survivor.”

A fourth man, Siraj Rehman Khan, who was involved in the rape of only the photojournalist, has received a life sentence, and a fifth, a juvenile, is being tried in a separate court.

In August of last year, the photojournalist was on assignment with a male colleague when her attackers lured the two of them into an abandoned textile mill in central Mumbai. They bound the man with a belt, and then raped the woman while threatening her with a broken bottle.

Just a month earlier, they had committed a similar crime against the telephone operator. And when the photojournalist spoke out, the telephone operator came forward as well.

India’s new laws also mandate the death penalty if the victim dies from injuries sustained during the rape. Four of the attackers in the Delhi gang rape, for instance, received the death penalty, while a teenager was given three years in a juvenile correctional facility.