Five Delhi gang rape suspects to appear in court
Five men accused of the abduction, gang rape and murder of the 23-year-old student in Delhi are appearing in court for a preliminary hearing in a case that has shocked India and caused an outcry.
The case has been temporarily adjourned after chaotic scenes in the courtroom. The judge has ordered a closed hearing.
The case is expected to be transferred to a new fast-track court for trial.
It comes as four Delhi policemen have been suspended over the handling of another suspected rape and murder case.
The father of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found on Saturday has said she was gang-raped.
He said police initially failed to react when he reported her disappearance, suggesting instead that she had gone off with someone.
The case has triggered protests in the Delhi suburb of Noida, where the woman was employed in a factory.
Two men have been arrested and a third suspect is reported to have fled.
The hearing in the case of the five men accused of gang rape and murder has now been adjourned after chaotic scenes in court.
The room was filled with arguing lawyers, police and watching journalists – but there was no sign of the accused, although they were believed to be still in the building.
The magistrate has ordered a closed hearing to be held later on Monday.
The suspects were kept away from cameras as they arrived in a police van.
A sixth suspect, who is 17, will be tried separately in a youth court.
Lawyers have said they will refuse to defend the accused, because of the outcry the crime has provoked.
If convicted, the suspects could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have said they have extensive forensic evidence.
The five accused have been named as Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
Two of the suspects have offered to give evidence, possibly in return for a lighter sentence, Reuters news agency reports.
The victim and a male friend were attacked on a bus in south Delhi on December 16. She died two weeks later in a hospital in Singapore.
Campaigners are calling for tougher rape laws and reforms to the police, who – critics say – often fail to file charges against accused attackers.
The victim’s father has denied weekend reports in a British newspaper that he wanted his daughter’s name published.
He said that he would have no problem with her name being used on a new law against rape.
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