World | India

India gang-rape trial begins as father urges hangings

Defence lawyer seeks transfer of case out of Delhi over fair trial concerns

  • AFP
  • Published: 18:40 January 21, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: EPA
  • An Indian man wearing a mask depicting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (C) holds a placards reading: ‘What should I do?’ during a protest along with some female protesters outside the court, where five men accused in the Delhi gang rape will be tried, in New Delhi, India, on Monday.

New Delhi: Five men went on trial on Monday over the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in 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 said. “The charge sheet has been submitted before the judge and the arguments will begin on January 24.”

The trial is being held in a special “fast-track” court in the capital set up to circumvent India’s notoriously slow justice system, with the victim’s family leading widespread calls for quick closure on the horrifying case.

The start of the trial was delayed until late in the afternoon on Monday 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,” he said.

“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.”

The assault last month on the medical student sparked mass protests across India — in particular in New Delhi which has been dubbed the country’s “rape capital” over the incidence of such attacks.

The 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 woman, 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 on Monday agreed to consider a request to transfer the trial to a venue outside New Delhi.

M.L. Sharma, counsel for defendant Mukesh Singh, said it would be impossible for his client to receive a fair hearing in the city where the December 16 attack took place.

The application for a transfer will be considered by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

V.K. Anand, a defence lawyer for another suspect called Ram Singh, asked the judge to lift the reporting ban on proceedings, but his request was refused.

“Crime is against society at large. Society has the right to know what happens in the court,” he argued when speaking to AFP.

Senior prosecutor Rajiv Mohan, who has vowed to seek the death penalty for the “heinous” crime, has said that he has “sufficient evidence” against all the accused to secure a conviction.

Police have gathered DNA evidence allegedly linking the defendants to the attack while the victim’s hospital bed declaration before her death and testimony from her 28-year-old companion are also set to be crucial.

India says it only imposes the death penalty in the “rarest of rare cases”. Two months ago, it hanged the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks — the country’s first execution in eight years.

Comments (8)

  1. Added 14:15 January 22, 2013

    Its time to go back to our basics. Refer to what vedas, puranas, bhagwadgitas, bibles quran & testaments say. Dear brothers & sisters we have left them all for the use in temples , church & mosque. Now its time for us to get back to them & practise what they instruct us

    aws, sharjah, India

  2. Added 13:07 January 22, 2013

    These guys shall get punishment without any mercy as this is not just a rape but a brutal murder which is not less than mumbai attack case. They shall be executed in front of all so no other can repeat.

    poojary, delhi, India

  3. Added 12:59 January 22, 2013

    The only possible punishment for these people is hanging. We need strict laws which needs to be followed and that is the only way crimes like these can be stopped.

    faisal Asrar, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:34 January 22, 2013

    I am proud to be in UAE, and I love UAE, Dubai police and UAE rules and regulations. Best thing about UAE is that they respect women’s and they make sure that they are safe in this country. I am ashamed to be an Indian where the women’s are not respected even today in this 21 century. Indian government people have no rules and no feeling. Only money talks for MCH, Police, and Traffic Police and for political leaders. Congress president is a female and I just want to ask her don’t you feel the pain of girl and the pain of her family. Very sad

    shalini, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:09 January 22, 2013

    These guys shall get punishment without any mercy as this is not just a rape but a brutal murder which is not less than mumbai attack case. They shall be executed in front of all so no other can repeat.

    Mohammad Ayaz, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 11:50 January 22, 2013

    Rape is such a shameful crime, whoever commits this act has no right to live. Their attack is no less then a wilding wolf which took away the life and everything of an innocent girl. when wild animals enter society it is a danger to the people so kill the danger. May Allah save each and every women from such wilding wolves. Capital punishment is right punishment. It would be more appropriate to carry out this punishment in public so that others will get a lesson

    Razack Ahmad, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 11:21 January 22, 2013

    Well said Michelle. With a government like India's, one can freely rape every women on the street, abuse children, rob the elderly and get away with a jail term of three weeks. Moreover, their meals and shelter is funded by your tax deductions.

    Roshan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 10:09 January 22, 2013

    Why is India so opposed to capital punishment? In cases of rape and child molestation, justice should be swift and the penalty should be capital punishment. What is our government so afraid of? Why does our legal system always favour the suspects instead of the victims? The state of the country's law and order and judicial system is so pathetic, its no wonder that people who can, are migrating elsewhere for want of a better, safer, life and a more effective, less corrupt government.

    Michelle, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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