Photo: AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal
The brutal gang rape of a young woman in Delhi has left India with protests on the street and a great deal of soul-searching over the way that the country treats women.However, news coming out about the upcoming trial suggests that the debate isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
A lawyer for two of the suspects has told the AFP that his clients will plead not guilty to all charges. “Nothing has been proven yet,” lawyer M.L. Sharma, who says he represents Mukesh Singh and Akshay Thakur, told the news agency.
The Indian Express reports that the lawyer has said a third suspect and “prime accused” Ram Singh will also plead not guilty. The BBC reports that lawyers are planning to challenge the police over how they handled evidence in the case.
Due to the case’s infamy, the legal process looks set to be difficult. At present it is not entirely clear which lawyers are representing the suspects, one source told the Indian Express.
“Generally in a sensational case, many advocates come forward to represent the accused. Being illiterate and already scared, the accused might have signed even more than two advocates. It is an issue between the advocate and the prisoner,” a senior Tihar jail official said.
There have also been reports that some lawyers are facing pressure to not represent the accused by local law groups, according to Zee News.
In total 5 adults and 1 minor are accused of participating in the a gang rape that left a 23-year-old medical student dead and her male companion severely beaten. They face charges such as rape, abduction, banditry, murder, amongst other charges.
The brutal details of the attack, plus complaints of police indifference to the victims, have results in a wild backlash that has spread across the entire of India. If found guilty the accused could face India’s rarely used death penalty.
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