Will no one defend Delhi gangrape accused?

Lawyers at a Delhi court have said they will not defend the six people standing trial for the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student whose case has shocked the country and provoked a national outcry for safety of women.

Hearings are expected to begin on Thursday at the Saket district courts, where the Delhi Police will formally present a 1,000-page chargesheet against five men facing the charges. The sixth, believed to be a juvenile, would be tried in a juveniles'' court, but the police are conducting bone tests to determine his age.

"We have decided that no lawyer will stand up to defend them. It would be immoral to defend the case," said Sanjay Kumar, a lawyer and member of the Saket District Bar Council.

Kumar said the 2,500 advocates registered at the court have decided to "stay away" to ensure "speedy justice", meaning the government would have to appoint lawyers for the defendants. Another lawyer at the court confirmed the boycott.

The woman died on Saturday morning after a brave struggle of 13 days to survive injuries that doctor said were so grievous that her body couldn''t endure.

She was gang-raped on a moving bus on December 16 and thrown out with her male friend, who was also battered.

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