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5 Men Plead Not Guilty in India Rape Case

  • VOA News

Five men accused of the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in India have pleaded not guilty, in a case that sparked outrage across the country.

Defense lawyers say the men professed their innocence on Saturday in a fast-track court in New Delhi for crimes against women.

The court will begin hearing testimony from witnesses this Tuesday . The five men could face the death penalty if convicted.

Defense lawyers have said police tortured the defendants to coerce confessions.

A sixth suspect is being tried separately as a juvenile.

The defendants are accused of beating the woman and her male companion in December with an iron rod and using the rusty rod during the sexual assault of the woman. She died of her injuries two weeks after the attack in a Singapore hospital, where she had been taken for treatment.

The woman's rape and death set off nationwide protests. Protesters have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way India treats women.

The expedited proceedings in this case are in response to public outrage for the brutality of the attack. The special fast-track court was established to circumvent India's notoriously slow justice system.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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