(BBC) – India’s Supreme Court has rejected a petition seeking to overturn the death sentences of three men convicted of the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi.
Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh had challenged the court’s 2017 ruling upholding their death penalty.
The brutal gang rape led to nationwide outrage and new anti-rape laws.
They have now exhausted all their legal options but can still file a mercy petition before India’s president.
The fourth man convicted in the case, Akshay Thakur, did not file an appeal but his lawyer says he plans to do so.
The victim’s mother told media that the Supreme Court ruling was “justice for all”.
“I have been struggling for six years, and today I am satisfied that justice has been delivered. The latest ruling has strengthened my belief in our justice system.”
She said it had been a difficult battle – but nothing compared to the 14 days she spent by her daughter’s side as she fought and lost the battle for her life, reports the BBC’s Divya Arya, who was at court.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was attacked on a bus as she and a male friend returned from watching a film in December 2012. Her friend was beaten up but survived.
She died of her injuries in hospital.
Six were arrested over the attack. One suspect, Ram Singh, was found dead in jail in March 2013, having apparently taken his own life.
Another, who was aged 17 at the time, was released in 2015 after serving three years in a reform facility – the maximum term possible for a juvenile in India.
16 December 2012: A 23-year-old physiotherapy student is gang-raped by six men on a bus in Delhi, her male friend is beaten up and the pair are thrown out after the brutal assault
17 December: Key accused Ram Singh, the bus driver, is arrested. Over the next few days, his brother Mukesh Singh, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, fruit seller Pawan Gupta, a helper on the bus Akshay Thakur, and the 17-year-old juvenile, who cannot be named, are arrested.
29 December: The victim dies in hospital in Singapore from injuries sustained during the assault; body flown back to Delhi
11 March 2013: Ram Singh dies in Tihar jail; police say he hanged himself, but defence lawyers and his family allege he was murdered
31 August: The juvenile is found guilty and sentenced to three years in a reform facility
13 September: The four adult defendants are convicted and given the death penalty by the trial court
13 March 2014: The Delhi high court confirms the death sentence
March – June 2014: The convicts appeal in the Supreme Court and the death sentences are put on hold until the court takes a decision.
May 2017: The Supreme Court upholds the high court’s decision to give them death sentences.