Protests against Delhi Gang Rape
Demonstrators shout slogans during a candlelight vigil to mark the first anniversary of Delhi gang rape, in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2013. Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

The New Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected the appeal of four men convicted of the gang rape of a woman on a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012, to uphold a lower court’s order of a death sentence, local news reports said.

The defense lawyer, representing four of the six men convicted of the brutal assault, which eventually claimed the woman's life, said that the ruling was a “politically motivated decision” and added that they will challenge the ruling in Supreme Court. The fast-track court ruled on the case, which attracted worldwide attention to the state of women's safety in Indian cities and exerted tremendous pressure on the government to provide justice in the country's notoriously slow legal system, in September after only nine months of investigation.

"By giving the maximum sentence, the message to the society would be that deviant behavior of extreme kind will not be tolerated," Dayan Krishnan, the public prosecutor reportedly told the bench, according to Hindustan Times, a local newspaper.

The six men, one of whom allegedly committed suicide last March while in custody and another who was tried as a juvenile because he was underage at the time of the crime, gang-raped a 23-year-old-woman on a moving bus before throwing her and her male companion out of the bus. The woman died of severe intestinal injuries on Dec. 12, 2012 in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she was airlifted by the Indian government for specialized treatment.

The convict who was tried as a juvenile was sentenced to a three-year reformatory, the maximum penalty allowed under the country’s law for juvenile criminals.

"We have got full faith in the judiciary. We had expected this verdict. But the ultimate satisfaction will be when the convicts meet to their ultimate fate," the mother of the 23-year-old victim reportedly said after the verdict was delivered, according to DNA, a local newspaper.