Five plead not guilty to Indian gang rape

Feb. 2, 2013 at 10:41 AM

NEW DELHI, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Five men pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges they raped and murdered a woman on a bus in a case that has stirred protests across India.

Police charge the men, plus a sixth defendant who is a juvenile, lured the victim -- a 23-year-old physiotherapist -- onto a bus in December, where they assaulted and beat her with a metal bar before throwing her onto a highway. She died two weeks after the attack.

The trial for the five adults is scheduled to start Tuesday, the Press Trust of India reported. The juvenile's case will be handled separately.

The court added a new charge against the defendants, accusing them of abducting the woman with the intention to compel and force her to "illicit intercourse."

In the aftermath of the attack, thousands of protesters demonstrated across the nation.

The government fast-tracked legislation Friday that would make gang rapes resulting in death punishable by execution. Minimum penalties would be raised to 20 years for gang rape and rape of a minor, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

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