|Delhi gang rape suspects due back in court|
10 January 2013
Five men charged with the abduction, gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman are due to appear in court in the Indian capital Delhi for a second time.
A magistrate is expected to transfer the case for trial to a special fast-track court.
Three of the five men will plead not guilty to all charges against them, their lawyer says. If convicted, the suspects could face the death penalty.
The case has shocked India and prompted a debate about the treatment of women.
A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, will be tried separately in a youth court if it is confirmed he is a minor.
Manohar Lal Sharma has said he will be representing three of the accused - Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur and Ram Singh.
It is not clear how the other two suspects - Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma - will plead or who will represent them.
Prosecutors have said they have extensive forensic evidence.
The magistrate has ordered that the preliminary hearings be held behind closed doors and has put restraints on media reporting in place.
Reports say that the court will decide on the lawyers representing the accused and the venue for the fast track trial court.
There were chaotic scenes in the Delhi court on Monday when the group appeared for the first time.
Lawyers argued with each other over representation and the magistrate adjourned the hearing, moving it behind closed doors.
Correspondents say it was not the most encouraging beginning to what the government has promised will be a fast-track legal process for this and other rape crimes.
Separately, the Delhi High Court has criticised the city's police over the gang rape incident on 16 December.
The court said on Wednesday that only one police officer had been suspended in connection with the incident, and asked the police: "Why are you trying to save the errant policemen?"
The victim, who cannot be named in India for legal reasons, and a male friend were attacked on a bus in south Delhi. 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 those accused of attacks.
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