- Four Nirbhaya case convicts were due to be executed at 6 am on Saturday
- On Friday, Delhi court said no hanging of the 4 men till further orders
- Mercy plea rejection means earliest the four can be hanged is February 15
Hours after Vinay Sharma, one of the four Nirbhaya convicts, saw his mercy plea rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind, another - Akshay Singh - has filed a similar appeal, officials at Delhi's Tihar Jail said today. Four men - Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh and Akshay Singh - convicted in the 2012 gangrape and killing of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi were due to be executed at 6 am today, but late last evening a Delhi court, handed them a last-minute reprieve, yet again.
The four will now not hang until further orders in the case, Delhi's Patiala House Court said. They had originally been sentenced to hang on January 22 but that was postponed after Mukesh Singh's mercy plea was rejected.
The rejection of Vinay Sharma's plea earlier today meant the earliest the four can be hanged is February 15; as per the rules a convict must be given 14 days between the rejection of a mercy plea and his execution.
Akshay Singh's mercy plea means the execution cannot happen before February 16, assuming the President reviews and rejects Akshay Singh's petition Sunday.
Amid growing anger and frustration at a judicial system seen to be offering more support to the perpetrators of this horrific crime than its victims, the four convicts have been filing petition after petition in an attempt to delay their execution.
In shocking scenes yesterday the convicts' lawyer, AP Singh, bragged to Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi that "the hanging will never happen".
Also yesterday the Supreme Court rejected Pawan Gupta's claim of being a minor at the time of the attack; this was the second time the same petition had been filed in two weeks.
"How many times will we hear the same things, you have raised it already many times," the court said, hearing the petition filed on Friday, the day a second date of execution was announced.
On December 16, 2012, the young woman who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" was gang-raped by six men, tortured with an iron rod and thrown off the vehicle. She died on December 29.
The savage assault stunned the nation and angry protesters filled the streets demanding justice.
Of the six men, one was found hanging in jail. The youngest, just short of 18 when the crime was committed, was released after three years in a reform home.
With input from PTI