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Four Nirbhaya rapists to hang on January 22, court issues death warrants

NEW DELHI: Seven years after the 23-year-old Nirbhaya was raped and brutalised, a Delhi court on Tuesday issued death warrant for the four convict — Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Mukesh Singh.

They are now scheduled to be hanged at 7 am on January 22.

However, the four convicts are yet to exhaust all the legal remedies.

The convicts may move the Supreme Court with a curative petition and the President with a mercy plea to have their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

The warrant by Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora was issued after hearing the convicts via video conferencing from Tihar jail.

Last month, the supreme court had informed last month that the review petitions by all four had been dismissed.

The top court had upheld death penalty for the convicts in 2017. While the review petitions filed by Pawan, Vinay and Mukesh were rejected in July 2018, Akshay’s, filed in December last year, was turned down the same month.

Under the law, death warrant proceedings take place after the person on death row has exhausted all legal remedies available — a review against the SC verdict, a subsequent curative petition if the plea is rejected, and a mercy plea before the President of India.

The hearing on the death warrant comes as the court hears a petition filed by Nirbhaya’s parents to expedite the execution of the convicts.

While urging the court to issue the death warrants, the prosecution said, “In between issuance and execution of death warrants of the convicts want to file curative petitions they can do so.” 
The counsel for two of the convicts — Mukesh and Vinay — said they were in process of filing curative petition in the apex court.