India’s Supreme Court to Hear Plea to Shift Venue of Rape Trial

Posted January 21st, 2013 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
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India's Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea requesting a change of venue for the trial for one of the six men accused in the brutal rape and murder of a woman last month in New Delhi.

The New Delhi court said Monday it would agree to consider the request Tuesday.

The lawyer for defendant Mukesh Singh says it would not be possible for his client to receive a fair hearing in the city where the December 16 attack took place.

It is not clear if overall proceedings will be delayed by the change of venue hearing in the Supreme Court.

Five of the six men, including Singh, are set to face trial beginning Monday in a special fast-track court established to circumvent India's notoriously slow justice system. The sixth suspect is under 18 and will be tried separately in a juvenile court.

The expedited proceedings are in response to public outrage over the brutality of the attack. The defendants are accused of beating the woman and her male companion with an iron rod and using the rusty rod during the sexual assault of the woman.

The unidentified victim died of her internal injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital, where she had been taken for treatment.

The woman's rape and death sparked outrage across the country. Protesters have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way India treats women.