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3 get death sentence in India gang rapes

Mumbai Gang Rape Suspect

(CNN) — Three men were sentenced to death Friday for the gang rapes of two women in the Indian city of Mumbai last year, public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.

The men — Vijay Jadhav, Mohammad Qasim and Salim Ansari — were sentenced to die under an amended Indian law that sets death as the maximum sentence if convicted of more than one sexual assault, according to Nikam. The three were found guilty of gang-raping a telephone operator a month before attacking a photojournalist in a deserted Mumbai mill in August.

Five people, including a young boy, were involved in the photojournalist rape case, Nikam said. One of them has been sentenced to life in prison, while the youngest is facing a trial before a juvenile justice board. Those convicted can appeal their sentences to a higher court.

Violent crimes against women have been in the spotlight in India since a 23-year-old woman was raped and beaten by several men on a bus in December 2012.

The victim later died in a Singapore hospital. The shocking attack provoked outrage across India, leading to calls for improved safety and treatment of women.

Since then, the Indian media have intensified their focus on rape cases. Attacks against foreign women have also been reported.

The 2012 case prompted lawmakers to change statutes to fast-track the arrest and questioning of anyone implicated in a rape.

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