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Delhi gangrape: Verdict on juvenile accused could be out by Thursday

The trial of a teenager accused of taking part in the December gang rape and murder of an Indian physiotherapy student drew to a close on Friday, a defence lawyer said, adding that a verdict would be given on 11 July.

The 16 December attack - in which the 23-year-old victim was allegedly beaten, raped and tortured with an iron rod by six people on a moving bus in New Delhi - sent thousands of usually apathetic urban Indians onto the streets to protest over an increase in crimes against women. The woman died from her injuries two weeks later.

Protests in Delhi after the December gangrape: AFP

Protests in Delhi after the December gangrape: AFP

The 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.

"The juvenile court has reserved the order against the juvenile until July 11," AP Singh, a defence lawyer for the accused, told Reuters. Once final arguments are heard, a verdict will follow.

Criminal proceedings against five 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.

The gang rape case not only sparked unprecedented protests across cities in India about the security of women - shining a global spotlight on violence against women in the country - but it also triggered demands from some sections of society to lower the age of juvenile offenders to 16 and to try them as adults above that age.

This was rejected by a special panel that was set up to look at amendments to laws to curb sex offences.

Reuters

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