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Court reviews death sentences in Delhi gang rape and murder case

NEW DELHI (AP) — Lawyers for four men sentenced to death for raping and murdering a young woman on a New Delhi bus challenged the verdicts at a High Court hearing Tuesday.

The brutal attack in December sparked public debate and fury over chronic sexual violence faced by women in India.

"I am challenging this verdict," said A.P. Singh, who has defended all four men at various times.

All death penalty cases in India must be confirmed by a higher court. As part of the proceedings for that, the High Court said Wednesday it would begin hearing prosecution arguments supporting the guilty verdicts and death penalties issued earlier this month, while the defense lawyers file their appeals.

"We have to deal with this as expeditiously as possible because the sword of death is hanging over them," Judge Pratibha Rani said.

It could take weeks or months for the court to hear arguments, review evidence and consider the appeals before deciding whether to confirm the execution orders.

For Tuesday's hearing, the men walked under police escort from a bus into the High Court complex. Three had their faces uncovered in public for the first time since the crime, while one wore a handkerchief tied over his nose and mouth.

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