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Three sentenced to death in India for 2013 gang rape, murder

Three men were sentenced to death, and three more received life sentences, in the rape and murder of a female student. The men were convicted earlier this week in eastern India.

The men were sentenced over a 2013 gang rape and murder of a 21-year-old student in the Indian state of West Bengal as she walked home after an exam.

The punishments were announced two days after the Kolkata court convicted the men.

"It was a gruesome crime, a rarest of the rarest case," said senior public prosecutor Anindya Raut.

Judge Sanchita Sarkar agreed with that assessment in announcing the verdicts to a packed court, which included the victim's family.

"I award the death sentence to three convicts on charges of gang rape and murder of the student and life imprisonment to three others for gang rape, criminal conspiracy and causing disappearance of evidence," Sarkar said.

Both sides said they would appeal the verdict.

Defense lawyer Phiroze Edulji said the convicted men would challenge the verdict in the high court.

'Failed' justice

Likewise, scores of the victim's supporters appeared at the courthouse chanting slogans and demanding the death penalty for all of the defendants.

"Justice has failed us as two of the accused were acquitted and three were awarded life sentences," the victim's brother said.

Indien Massenvergewaltigung - Prozess - Protest

Protesters outside the Kolkata courthouse demand the death penalty for the perpetrators

Extra police were called in Thursday, as protesters tried to force their way into the judicial complex

The victim's identity has been concealed for legal reasons, but she was attacked after getting off a bus in her village, Kamduni, after finishing university exams in Kolkata, about 30 miles away.

Her attackers, all local men in their 40s, dragged her to an isolated factory compound where she was raped and brutalized.

Her mutilated body was later found in a pool of blood in a nearby field.

National and international outrage

Watch video 01:44

Protests: Delhi gang rape convict to be freed

The attack came just six months after another fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi sparked national and international outrage.

The 2012 assault led to an overhaul of India's rape laws, including expediting of trials and stiffer penalties for perpetrators.

But rights activists say violence towards women remains prevalent.

In 2014, nearly 37,000 rapes were reported to the police, according to data from India's National Crime Records Bureau. Campaigners say many more rapes go unreported. There are no statistics available yet for 2015.

bik/gsw (AFP, dpa)

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