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Updated: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 03:34:30 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

India convicts 4 men in gang rape of photojournalist



School children shout slogans as they hold candles during a candle light vigil to mark the first anniversary of the Delhi gang rape, in New Delhi December 16, 2013. A 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi December 16, 2012, beaten and then pushed out onto the street along with her male companion. She died two weeks later amid an outpouring of anger across India. Four men were sentenced to death while a teenager was sentenced to juvenile custody. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (© INDIA - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST ANNIVERSARY)

School children shout slogans as they hold candles during a candle light vigil to mark the first anniversary of the Delhi gang rape, in New Delhi December 16, 2013. A 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi December 16, 2012, beaten and then pushed out onto the street along with her male companion. She died two weeks later amid an outpouring of anger across India. Four men were sentenced to death while a teenager was sentenced to juvenile custody. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST ANNIVERSARY) - RTX16L23 Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A court on Thursday convicted four men of gang raping a photojournalist in India's financial capital of Mumbai last year.

The Mumbai court is expected to sentence the men on Friday, said Maharashtra state Home Minister R.R. Patil. The four face a minimum of 20 years in prison, and could receive life sentences, said Prosecutor Ujjawal Nikkam.

Sexual assaults against women have been rising in India, sparking huge protests across the country.

The 22-year-old photojournalist was on assignment with a male colleague at an abandoned textile mill in Mumbai's Lower Parel area on Aug. 22 when they were approached by several men who offered to gain permission for them to shoot photos in the building. Once inside, the male colleague was beaten and tied up while the attackers took turns raping the woman.

Lower Parel is a section of Mumbai where luxury malls and condominiums stand alongside sprawling slums.

A fast-track court completed the trial in the case seven months after the charges were filed. The judiciary in India is notorious for delays, with the courts clogged with hundreds of thousands of pending cases.

The fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012 prompted discussions about tolerance of public groping, sexual assault and violence against women in a country where rapid cultural and economic change is clashing with long-entrenched conservative values.

Four men have been sentenced to death in the New Delhi gang rape case.

Pledging to crack down, the federal government created fast-track courts for rape cases, doubled prison terms for rape, and criminalized voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.

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