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Judge sends India rape case to fast-track court

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 17, 2013 at 6:31 a.m.

— An Indian magistrate Thursday ordered the trial of five men accused in the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a moving bus to be shifted to a special fast-track court in New Delhi.

The brutal rape of the 23-year-old student last month set off protests in New Delhi and sparked a national debate about the treatment of women across the country and the inability of law enforcement to protect them.

To address some of that criticism, the government set up five fast-track courts in the capital in recent weeks to deal swiftly with crimes against women. Authorities were eager to move the case into one of those courts, which are designed to avoid the delays, incompetence and corruption that plague much of India’s legal system.

In a hearing Thursday, Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal sent the rape case to a fast-track court and set a hearing for Monday there.

A sixth suspect in the attack claims to be a juvenile and his case is being handled separately.

Lawyers for the five have said police mistreated their clients, including beating them to force them to confess to the Dec. 16 crime.

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