NEW DELHI, India — The case against five men accused of gang-raping and fatally injuring a young woman in Delhi has been sent to a special fast-track court.
The court, which was set up earlier this month amid outrage over the attack, will begin hearing the case daily from Monday, India's NDTV reported.
One of the suspects has asked for the trial to take place outside Delhi in order to stand a better chance of a fair hearing.
A lawyer for Ram Singh, the driver of the bus on which the rape took place, plans to petition India's Supreme Court for a transfer, the BBC reported, since he claims the trial may be prejudiced by the media's wall-to-wall, often sensational, coverage.
"We are sure we will not get justice in Delhi," defense attorney VK Ananad said.
According to NDTV, Ananad will ask for the case to be moved to anywhere else except the state of Uttar Pradesh, where the victim was from.
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It may be difficult for the accused to get a fair trial in New Delhi — or, indeed, anywhere in India — given the public pressure to deliver a speedy conviction and harsh punishment, says GlobalPost's senior correspondent in India, Jason Overdorf.
“I don't think it's possible,” New Delhi High Court lawyer Rajinder Singh said of the relocation request. “Only the Supreme Court of India has the power to transfer a case [to another venue]. And there has to be a valid reason for that, such as when a rape has happened and the witness is being threatened.”
The now infamous case in India is comparable to the 1989 rape and beating of a jogger in New York's Central Park, an attack that sparked a similar media frenzy and resulted in five convictions that were later overturned.
In Delhi, the five men are charged with abduction, rape and murder of the 23-year-old woman, who died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital weeks after the Dec. 16 attack.
A sixth suspect is believed to be under 18, in which case he will be tried separately in a juvenile court. Authorities are still determining his age and are due to decide on his case on Jan. 28, the Times of India reported.
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Jason Overdorf contributed reporting from New Delhi. Follow him on Twitter @joverdorf.