Delhi rape trial to begin in fast-track court Monday


Indian lawyer Ajay Prakash Singh (C), who represents defendants Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma who are on trial for the gang-rape of a student, speaks with the media outside the Saket District Court in New Delhi on January 10 ,2013. A lawyer for the defendants in the New Delhi gang-rape case accused police on January 10 of beating confessions out of them as they appeared for their second court appearance.


Sajjad Hussain

The Delhi trial of five men accused of gang raping and murdering a young woman last month is set to begin in a fast-track court on Monday. 

The sixth suspect is believed to be 17, and will be tried as a minor in a separate case, BBC News reported.  

Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan is prosecuting the men for charges of rape, kidnapping, and murder, among others. They could face the death penalty if convicted, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The five men's defense lawyers have said that their clients, who are currently being held in Delhi's Tihar jail, will plead not guilty. 

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M.L. Sharma, one of the defendant's lawyers, filed a petition to move the trial out of Delhi, saying his client would not get a fair trial in the city that has been enraged by the crime, Agence France Presse reported

"The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and state are not spared," said the petition. "In these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all." 

The brutal rape and murder of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student has sparked widespread outrage across India over the treatment of women. 

The government, criticized for its slow response and tamping down of protests, has set up five fast-track courts in Delhi to swiftly deal with crimes against women, the Age reported

The courts are reportedly designed to avoid the "delays, incompetence and corruption that plague much of India's legal system," according to the Associated Press. 

A number of other reforms are still under debate and consideration. 

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