INDIA’S top court today (5) upheld death sentences against four men who fatally gang raped a woman on board a bus in 2012, a crime that sparked widespread protests and drew international attention to violence against women.

“It’s a barbaric crime and it has shaken the society’s conscience,” Justice R Banumathi told a packed courtroom as the three-judge Supreme Court panel threw out an appeal on behalf of the defendants.

The five men and a juvenile lured the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend on to a minibus in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2012, repeatedly raping the woman and beating both with a metal bar before dumping them on a road.

The woman died of grave internal injuries two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

Applause broke out in court among relatives of the victim – whose identity is protected by law – as judges explained that the crime met the “rarest of the rare” standard to justify capital punishment in India.

“I am very satisfied. Today I am happy,” the woman’s mother said. Her father said: “It’s not just a victory for my family, it’s a victory for each and every woman in our country.”

(Reuters)