India Gang-rape: Five Suspects Charged in Delhi

03 Jan 2013

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Indian students protesting against the brutal gang-rape


Indian authorities have charged five men with the kidnap, gang rape and murder of a woman in Delhi last month.

The 23-year-old died of her injuries two weeks after the 16 December attack, reports the BBC.

The five men will be tried in a fast-track court, where they could be handed the death penalty. A sixth suspect will be tried in a juvenile court.

The incident sparked outrage across India - the victim's father said he backed calls for the men to be executed if found guilty.

"The whole country is demanding that these monsters be hanged. I am with them," he told reporters at his home in Uttar Pradesh state.

Neither the woman nor her family can be identified under Indian law.

The charges were put before a magistrate but will be transferred to a specially launched fast-track court.

The trial is expected to start at the weekend.

Although it is mandatory in India for the accused to appear in person to be charged, policemen outside the court said they would not be present on Thursday for security reasons.

Case documents already run to more than 1,000 pages and include key testimony from the woman before she died.

Police say they have scheduled about 30 witnesses.

The Bar Association said none of its members was willing to defend the suspects, so the court is expected to appoint defence lawyers itself.

India's chief justice has warned that, despite the strength of public feeling, "a swift trial should not be at the cost of a fair trial".

"Let us not lose sight of the fact that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty," Altamas Kabir told reporters on Wednesday.

Protests have been taking place every day since the attack, with protesters expressing anger over attitudes to women in India and calling for changes to the laws on violence against women.

Tags: News, World, INDIA, GANG-RAPE, Suspects, Delhi

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