22 Jan 2013

Five accused of India gang rape and murder in court

10:10 pm on 22 January 2013

The trial of five men over the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman has begun at a specially convened court in India's capital, Delhi.

The attack in December last year sparked such uproar in India and around the world that the case was fast-tracked.

The start of the trial at the Saket court complex in Delhi was delayed for more than an hour as defence lawyers argued that it should be open to the media.

However, the judge rejected their request and said trial should be held behind closed doors.

If convicted, the men could face the death penalty. A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, is expected to be tried by a juvenile court.

The case has sparked a debate about the treatment of women in India.

On Sunday, the victim's mother condemned public figures who implied her daughter had brought it on herself.

In an interview with the BBC, she said those who criticised Indian women for adopting Western dress and lifestyles were "sexist and irresponsible" and were in effect condoning rape.