Authorities Charge Five India Gang Rape Suspects

Posted January 3rd, 2013 at 8:10 am (UTC-5)
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Police in India have formally charged five of the suspects in last month's gang rape of a 23-year-old woman, an attack that left her with such severe injuries she died two weeks later.

The men are accused of gang rape, murder and criminal assault. Authorities say they will push for the death penalty if they are convicted. A sixth suspect is believed to be under 18 and is expected to be tried separately in juvenile court.

The government has promised quick justice following an outpouring of public anger against the rape. The hearings for the adults will be held in fast succession in a newly created court. Some expect the court to conclude the case by the end of next month — a record in a country where trials can drag on for years.

The government also is expected to appoint attorneys to defend the men after bar association lawyers said they would not take part in their defense.

The unidentified woman died Saturday from severe internal injuries that her assailants caused with a metal rod during the attack on a bus December 16.

The student's death has set off a debate in India about protecting women. Protesters have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way the country treats women.

Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide rarely enter mainstream political discourse in India.