Gang-rape suspects hear charges

Jan. 7, 2013 at 8:18 AM
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NEW DELHI, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A magistrate hearing the case against five men accused in the rape, murder and kidnapping of an Indian woman ordered the courtroom closed to the public.

The suspects arrived at the Metropolitan Magistrates' Court in Saket district to hear the charges against them amid tight security and heavy media coverage, CNN reported.

The attack on the 23-year-old woman in New Delhi Dec. 16 sparked protests over India's treatment of women and handling of sexual attacks.

Tempers ran hot inside the courtroom before the men arrived, with some lawyers criticizing offers by some of their colleagues to represent the suspects, CNN said.

"You will not defend those barbarians!" one lawyer shouted.

The local bar association last week vowed not to represent any of the suspects because of the nature of the crimes.

Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal asked people not connected with the case to leave but when none left, she walked out, CNN said.

When she returned, Aggarwal ordered the hearing be closed and barred media from publishing proceedings related to the case without the court's permission, citing concerns about the suspects' safety.

A juvenile court will hear the matter of determining the age of a sixth suspect in the attack, who claims to be 17 and isn't old enough to be tried as an adult, news reports said.

The woman, whose name has not been released, died late last month in a Singapore hospital, where she was transferred for specialized treatment. She and her male companion were attacked on a private bus in New Delhi after they went to a movie, then thrown out of the moving vehicle.

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