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July 25, 2013

Court Defers Verdict in India Gang Rape Case

by VOA News

An Indian juvenile court has again delayed delivering a verdict in the case of the brutal December gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi.

Officials say the verdict, which was scheduled to be handed down Thursday, has been delayed until August 5 because of a challenge pending in the Supreme Court seeking to change the legal definition of a juvenile.

The defendant was 17 at the time of the attack in December. He is being tried as a minor on murder and rape charges and is facing three years maximum in a detention center.

He is one of six suspects in the case. The trial of the adult suspects, one of whom died in jail from a suspected suicide in March, continues in a special fast-track court in New Delhi and is expected to wrap up in a few months.

The four remaining adults are facing the death penalty.

The defendants are accused of beating the woman and her male companion 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.

The woman's rape 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.