NEW DELHI: An Indian court is expected to deliver the first verdict this week on one of five suspects tried over the fatal gang-rape of a student, which triggered outrage and protests across the country.
A juveniles’ court in New Delhi has finished hearing the case of the youngest suspect, who was 17 at the time of the horrific assault on the 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in the capital.
Principal Magistrate Geetanjli Goel had been expected to announce the verdict to a packed court on July 11, but deferred her decision on the case until Thursday.
The victim’s family has called for the teenager to be tried as an adult, alongside five men initially arrested over the assault on December 16.
“He committed the worst crime and even if he is a minor, the accused should not be allowed to walk free after three years,” the victim’s father said this week, referring to the maximum sentence the juvenile could receive.
The physiotherapy student was allegedly beaten, raped and tortured with an iron rod by six people, after getting onto the bus with a friend as they made their way home from the cinema.
She died two weeks later from internal injuries inflicted during the attack, a crime that brought simmering anger about endemic sex crime in India to the boil.
Several weeks of sometimes violent protests spurred parliament to pass a new law toughening sentences for rapists, while public soul-searching sought answers to the rising tide of violence against women.
The adults and the juvenile were charged with murder, rape, kidnap, robbery and conspiracy.