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Formal Charges For Five Accused In Delhi Gangrape Case

posted 2 Feb 2013, 05:05 by Mpelembe   [ updated 2 Feb 2013, 05:05 ]

A fast track court in New Delhi formally charges five of the six men accused of the gangrape and murder of a young woman, a case that has led to a shake-up of laws against sexual crimes following protests about rising numbers of attacks on women.

NEW DELHIINDIA (FEBRUARY 02, 2013) ( (ANI) -  A fast track court in New Delhi on Saturday (February 2) formally charged five of the six men accused of the gangrape and murder of a young woman, a case that has led to a shake-up of laws against sexual crimes following protests about rising numbers of attacks on women.

The five men have pleaded not guilty to charges.

"Charges have been framed against all the accused under all the sections applied by the police. Now the accused have been given the charge sheet. The next hearing is from 11:30 a.m. on February 5. The public witness will be called. Evidence will be presented and statements recorded," said A. P. Singh, the lawyer defending two of the accused.

A Reuters witness saw the men led into the court room with their faces covered, where lawyers in the case said they were read thirteen charges including murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death. They court session lasted 15 minutes.

The rape case brought thousands of protesters onto the streets and ignited intense public debate over the failure of the police and the government to stem rampant violence against women in India.

A strictly enforced media blackout on the court proceedings means there will likely be few details about the trial, leaving many with unanswered questions about an attack that was shocking in its brutality.

Singh said that his clients had pleaded not guilty because they had been falsely implicated. He went on to say that stronger legislation against rape would only lead to 'blackmail' and the victimisation of men.

"It is unfortunate that as the trial begins, new laws are going to be made. These laws will achieve nothing except the victimisation of men. In our country, there is more misuse than use of laws. The results of this power of blackmail will come out before you and the courts in due course," he said.

The victim in the case, a female student was tortured with an iron rod and raped on a moving bus in the capital on December 16. She was then thrown bleeding onto the street along with a male friend who was also beaten. She died of organ failure in aSingapore hospital two weeks later.

The trial will commence after the federal government has approved ammendments to law which means someone accused of rape might receive a death sentence in a case when the victim has died or is left in a coma.

Recently, a panel headed by Justice J.S. Verma, had submitted a report on anti-rape laws and had also recommended that other milder forms of sexual harassment be more strictly legislated against and punished.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors say they have a large file of evidence, including DNA from blood-stained clothing recovered by police.

A sixth accused will be tried as a juvenile in a separate court, a special panel ruled this week after it accepted school records showing him to be 17 years old. If convicted the teenager would receive a maximum of three years in jail.


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