THE INDIAN EXPRESS, THE TIMES OF INDIA, ASIAN AGE (India) AFP
NEW DELHI – Eighteen days after the violent gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student set off a worldwide outcry, police filed charges in court against the five men arrested in the case, reported the Indian Express.
The young woman, who was brutally raped and beaten by six men in a New Delhi bus, died on Dec. 29 in the Singapore hospital where she had been flown in critical condition.
The five suspects, aged between 19 and 35 years old, were charged with murder, gang rape, kidnapping, unnatural offences and several other charges, according to the Indian Express.
If convicted, reported the AFP, the men face the death penalty. The next hearing has been set for Saturday, as the trial has been fast-tracked by the Chief Justice of India, Atlamas Kabir.
The sixth man – who is allegedly a minor – may be charged by the Juvenile Justice Board according to the Asian Age. Bone density tests are being analyzed to determine if he is indeed a juvenile or an adult, said the Times of India. Authorities say that DNA studies link all six men to the horrific rape.
The case set off both national and internationaly demonstrations condemning rape and violence against women. On Thursday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the New Delhi courthouse to demand greater protection for Indian women and better justice for rape victims. In 2011 only 26% of reported rape cases resulted in a conviction, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.