Five in New Delhi court in gang-rape trial
Updated: Thursday, 24 Jan 2013 22:10
Five men, accused of the gang-rape of a student in India last month, have arrived in a special fast-track court in New Delhi for the start of their trial.
The rape and subsequent death of the young woman has triggered outrage and questions over the treatment of women in India’s justice system.
Police were on high alert outside the sprawling court complex in south New Delhi as the suspects arrived.
Inside the court, about 30 policemen blocked access to the room where the trial was to be held, while scores of journalists and curious onlookers crowded the hallway.
The court will hear opening arguments by the prosecution and defence lawyers.
The trial will be conducted in a closed court room after Judge Yogesh Khanna denied a defence motion to make the proceedings public.
A sixth suspect says he is a juvenile and is expected to be tried in a juvenile court.
Police say the victim and a male friend were attacked after boarding a bus on 16 December.
The attackers beat the man and raped the woman, inflicting massive internal injuries with a metal bar, police said.
The victims were dumped naked on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.
The trial began a day after a government panel recommended India strictly enforce sexual assault laws, commit to holding speedy rape trials and change the antiquated penal code to protect women.
The panel appointed to recommend suggestions to overhaul the criminal justice system's handling of violence against women, received 80,000 suggestions from women's and rights groups and thousands of ordinary citizens.
Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said the government would take the recommendations to the Cabinet and Parliament.