NEW DELHI (AP) — India's top court on Saturday temporarily stayed the hanging of two of the four men convicted for the 2012 gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi.
The Supreme Court's order came in response to a petition filed by an attorney for the two men that said the appeals court that confirmed the death sentence this past week had completely ignored their defense.
The court scheduled a hearing in the case for March 31.
An attorney for the other two convicted men, who also face the death penalty, said he would approach the court soon.
A special fast track court had sentenced the four men in September, saying their crime was one of the rarest of rare cases that warranted the death penalty.
On Thursday, the Delhi High Court dismissed the appeals filed by the men and said it "affirmed" the sentence given by the lower court.
The 23-year-old medical student and a friend were returning home from a movie when the men tricked them into boarding a bus they were joy-riding. They beat the friend into submission, held the woman down and took turns raping her. They also penetrated her with a rod, causing severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks after the December 2012 attack.
The brutality of the crime unleashed a wave of public anger over the treatment of Indian women and a long-unspoken epidemic of sexual violence in the country.
All six men involved in the attack were arrested soon after the attack.
Police say one of the men hanged himself in prison. Another man — an 18-year-old who was a juvenile at the time of the attack — was convicted and ordered to serve three years in a reform home.