|Trial of five Indian gang rape suspects begins
Five Indian men went on trial today over the fatal gang-rape of a young girl on a bus in the national capital Delhi as the victim's father urged the special fast-track court to deliver swift justice and sentence her attackers to hang.
With the case being held behind closed doors and subject to a gagging order, it was left to one of the prosecutors to announce the start of the case to reporters packed outside the sessions court in New Delhi.
“The trial has begun,'' Dayan Krishnan told AFP. “The chargesheet has been submitted before the judge and the arguments will begin on January 24.’’
Proceedings were delayed until late in the afternoon today by a failed application to overturn the gagging order while a lawyer for one defendant also sought to move the trial out of New Delhi.
The father of the 23-year-old victim said her family would rest only once the culprits were convicted and hanged and he urged judge Yogesh Khanna to complete his work quickly.
“We have finished the mourning rituals for my daughter in the village but our mourning will not end until the court passes down its verdict. My daughter's soul will only rest in peace after the court punishes the men,'' the father told AFP.
“It is the duty of the court and the judges to ensure that the final order to punish all the accused is handed down quickly and all the men are hanged.
“No man has the right to live after committing such a heinous crime.''
Five men face murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and other charges, with prosecutors expected to demand the death penalty. A sixth suspect, who claims he is 17, will be tried by a separate juvenile court.
Defence lawyers say they will enter not-guilty pleas and accuse police of torturing the adult defendants – aged between 19 and 35 – to confess.
The girl, a promising student whose father worked extra shifts as an airport baggage handler to educate her, suffered massive intestinal injuries during the assault on the bus in which she was raped and violated with an iron bar. She died 13 days later after the government airlifted her to a Singapore hospital in a last-ditch bid to save her life.
In a move that could lead to a significant delay to proceedings, the Supreme Court agreed to consider a request to transfer the trial to a venue outside New Delhi.