Manohar Lal Sharma, lawyer of three of the men accused of raping and killing a young Indian student on December 16 in New Delhi, said they will plead not guilty.
While the magistrate announced on Monday that the trial will be held behind closed doors in order to avoid chaos. Accused of various charges including abduction, rape and murder, the men could be sentenced to death.
According to him, the police rushed through the investigation. “We are only hearing what the police are saying. This is manipulated evidence. It’s all on the basis of hearsay and presumption”, Sharma declared.
He argued that the police did not even check the age of the sixth member of the group who claims to be 17. For the first time since December 16, he received the examination of the bones, on Monday, to check his age. If it appears he is below 18, his trial will be transferred to a juvenile court. There, if convinced, he will be imprisoned for a maximum of three years in a correctional home.
For a few days, after they were arrested, the six men did not have any access to a lawyer and the police conducted the interrogation alone.
The trial brings the attention of the entire country on what happened. Protests and riots have been organized, forcing the police to secure the premises of the Saket tribunal.
Normally, those accused of rape, go to trial after a few months, but due to the agitation caused by this case in the population, the trial will take place immediately.
Public attention about this case has derived into a society debate about violence against women and improvement of the police security.