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Indian Court Orders Death Sentence for Rapists

A court in India's financial hub has sentenced three men to death for two gang rapes.

The death sentences are the first to be handed down for rape not involving a death of the victim, since India increased its penalties for sexual crimes. A new anti-rape law was approved in the aftermath of the gang rape and killing of a young woman aboard a private bus in New Delhi in December of 2012.

The men who were sentenced to death on Friday in the western city of Mumbai were convicted of gang raping a photojournalist in an abandoned saw mill compound in August of 2013. They were also found guilty of raping another woman in the same building in a separate attack a month earlier. A fourth man was sentenced to life in prison.

Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said the sentences will send a strong message to society.

Also Friday, a court in southern India overturned the acquittals of 24 men involved in the case of a teenager who was raped for several weeks in southern India 18 years ago.

Kerala High Court sentenced one man to life imprisonment and the other 23 received various prison terms, ranging from seven to 11 years.

The girl was raped by at least 40 men in various places for 40 days in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Court officials say her rapists included a professor, lawyers, businessmen, and government officials.

While the ordeal happened in 1996, the men received their acquittals in 2005. India's top court ordered a retrial last year.

India's justice system moves slowly, but the December 2012 gang rape unleashed public anger over the treatment of women and a long-unspoken epidemic of sexual violence. Faster trials were among the changes in the legal system.

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