Delhi gangrape: Accused to be produced in court today

Saket court

Five men charged with the brutal gangrape and murder of 23-year-old physiotherapist in New Delhi will appear in court on Monday after police said they had forensic evidence to link to them to the killing.

The five, who could face the death penalty if convicted, are also charged with kidnap, robbery and conspiracy over the attack on a bus on December 16 that sparked protests across India about the levels of violence against women.

The defendants have been named as Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Vijay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta.

A sixth accused, who is 17, is to be tried in a separate court for juveniles.

Police have pledged "maximum security" during the hearing at the magistrates' court amid fears for the defendants' safety. A man was arrested last week as he allegedly tried to plant a crude bomb near the home of one of the men.

Legal experts say the court in the Saket district of the capital would likely transfer the case to a more senior court during Monday's hearing.

"The court will ask them if they have lawyers and then it will appoint an Amicus Curiae (lawyer) to represent them and supply copies of the chargesheet to the accused," said Vishwender Verma, a senior advocate at Delhi High Court.

"The case will then be committed to a sessions court as a magistrates' court cannot try rape and murder cases."

The student, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had spent the evening at a cinema with her boyfriend on the night of the attack. After failing to flag down an autorickshaw, they were lured onto a privste bus they thought would take them home.

Instead, a gang are alleged to have taken it in turns to rape the young woman as well as sexually assault her with an iron bar that they also used to attack her companion. The pair were then stripped and thrown out of the moving vehicle.

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