Indian Juvenile Court to Give Verdict in Delhi Bus Gang Rape Case
Created: 2013-07-11 16:19 EST
A juvenile justice court was expected to announce the verdict on Thursday on the role of the teenager accused in the brutal Delhi bus gang rape, which caused national and global outrage.
In the December 16 attack, a 23-year-old student was beaten, raped and tortured with an iron rod by six people on a moving bus in New Delhi.
The woman died from her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore.
The accused teenager, who was 17 years old at the time of the crime, is being tried by India's Juvenile Justice Board and has pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, he faces a maximum of three years in juvenile detention.
Police say he was the most brutal of the six accused and people across India have demanded severe punishment, notwithstanding his juvenile age.
The defense lawyer for the teenager, A.P. Singh, says the court would be doing injustice if the accused was not treated as a juvenile.
Social activist, Annie Raja, says a soft punishment would severely shake people's faith in the country's justice system.
[Annie Raja, Social Activist]:
"The belief of the common man on the country's justice system depends on the judgment that will be announced today. We all want that the girl, who was the victim, and thousands of other victims like her get justice. So this case answers to many other dimensions."
The gang rape case sparked unprecedented protests across India about the security of women, shining a global spotlight on violence against women in India.
The plea to lower the age of juvenile offenders to 16 was rejected by the court of law.
[Barkha Singh, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women]:
"We have demanded this from the beginning that the age for juvenile justice should be lowered; the age limit, which is currently 18, should be reduced but this didn't happen. But even today we would want the age to be lowered and the accused should not be given a lenient sentence."
Criminal proceedings against four men are underway in a special fast-track court and their trial is expected to end later this month.
One of the defendants was found dead in his prison cell in March, while the other four could face the death penalty if found guilty.