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Rape suspects charged

Demonstrators on the streets of Delhi.

DELHI — Indian authorities have charged five men with the kidnap, gang-rape and murder of a woman in Delhi last month.

The 23-year-old died at the weekend from injuries from the 16 December attack. The incident sparked outrage.

The five will be tried in a special fast-track court where they could be handed the death penalty. They were not in court to be charged, said police.

A sixth suspect is reported to be a juvenile. Police have ordered a bone marrow test to confirm his age.

The charges were put before a magistrate but will be transferred to a specially launched fast-track court.

The trial is expected to start at the weekend.

Although it is mandatory in India for the accused to appear in person to be charged, policemen outside the court said they would not be presented for security reasons.

Case documents already run to more than 1,000 pages.

They include key testimony from the woman before she died.

Police say they have scheduled about 30 witnesses.

Yesterday, thousands of women marched through Delhi to Rajghat to protest against the rape, and more generally to Indian attitudes to women.

Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was among the protesters, and called for stringent anti-rape laws.

India’s Junior Education Minister Shashi Tharoor has suggested a new anti-rape law should be named after the victim, a medical student who has not been named.

The woman’s family have said they would have no objection to such a move.

Protests have been taking place every day since the gang-rape with protesters expressing anger over attitudes to women in India and calling for changes to the laws on violence against women. (BBC)

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