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Central & South Asia

India to charge five gang-rape suspects

Police to receive victim's postmortem results, with murder charges against adult suspects set to be filed on Thursday.
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2013 16:34

Indian police have said they expect to formally charge five of six suspects with murder in the death of 23-year-old woman who was raped on a moving bus in New Delhi last month.

The sixth suspect in the case that has outraged the country is under 18-years old. Under Indian law, juveniles cannot be prosecuted for murder.

Police ordered a bone test for the sixth accused to confirm his age, according to a police officer who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to reporters.

Rajan Bhagat, New Delhi police spokesman, said on Tuesday that a charge-sheet in the case will be filed in court on Thursday.

Police also said they expected to receive the victim's postmortem report on Tuesday.

The suspects face the death penalty if convicted.

The physiotherapy student died last week in a Singapore hospital where she had been sent for emergency treatment after the crime in India's capital on December 16.

Ongoing protests

The case has triggered protests across India and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes.

IN DEPTH
  Are women safe in India?
  Insensitive remarks add to India's rape shame
  The violence of rape
  Bus attack highlights India's rape epidemic
  India announces inquiry into Delhi gang-rape
  'Honour killings' bring dishonour to India

Protesters and politicians from across the spectrum called for a special session of Parliament to pass new laws to increase punishments for rapists - including possible chemical castration - and to set up fast-track courts to deal with rape cases within 90 days.

Thousands of Indians have lit candles, held prayer meetings and marched through various cities and towns to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.

Authorities clamped down on demonstrations in the heart of the city before Christmas, but hundreds of people gathered for vigils on Monday nigh.

Protesters were seen sitting at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi's famous protest site and were shouting slogans.

More events were planned across the city.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Indian army and navy canceled their New Year's celebrations, as did Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party.

Several hotels and clubs across the capital also did not hold their usual parties.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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