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News

Indian gang-rape case sent to new specialist court

A judge in New Delhi has referred the trial of five men accused of gang-raping a student who later died of her injuries to a new special tribunal set up to deal with sexual assault cases.

An Indian magistrate on Thursday ordered that five men accused of raping a young woman be tried in a special court established to deal with crimes against women in the aftermath of the case.

Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal referred the trial to the court, setting a hearing for Monday, January 21. A sixth suspect is currently not a part of the case, authorities are verifying claims that he is 17 years old and should therefore be tried in a juvenile court.

"The judge has completed the scrutiny of documents filed, along with the charge sheets," said a lawyer for one of the five accused, VK Anand. "The case will now be taken up by the special court on Monday."

The five men are charged with abduction, rape and murder. They are accused of enticing the woman onto a bus attacking her and then throwing her from the moving vehicle. She later died of her injuries.

The case sparked widespread protests in India, and highlighted the country's high rate of violent sexual crimes against women, especially in New Delhi. One of the political consequences was the formation of five courts specializing in such crimes, with their case being deferred to one of these tribunals on Thursday.

Prosecutors have said that DNA evidence has established the defendants' involvement in the attack on the 23-year-old student, who has not been named.

msh/hc (AFP, AP, dpa)