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Five Charged In New Delhi Gang-Rape Case

Demonstrators shout slogans as police use water cannons to disperse them near the presidential palace during a protest rally held in New Delhi late last month after a young woman was gang raped by several men on a bus.
Indian authorities have formally charged five men with the kidnap, gang rape, and murder of a woman last month -- a case that has sparked widespread anger across India.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student and a male companion were assaulted on a bus in New Delhi on December 16.

The woman died two weeks later from her injuries at a hospital in Singapore, where she was taken for treatment.

Neither the woman nor her family can be identified under Indian law.

The men charged include the bus driver, his brother who cleans buses for the same company, a fruit vendor, a bus washer, and a fitness trainer.

The five men will be tried in a fast-track court inaugurated the day before to deal specifically with crimes against women.

They could be handed the death penalty.

Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan asked for a closed trial, and a hearing was set for January 5.

A sixth suspect is believed to be 17 and is expected to be tried separately in a juvenile court.

The attack has sparked sometimes violent protests against the Indian government, which many accuse of doing too little to prevent violence against women.

The protesters say women in India are frequently subjected to sexual assault, that reports of crimes against women are not taken seriously, and that conviction rates are too low.

In neighboring Nepal on January 3, hundreds of protesters demanded tough government action against officials who allegedly robbed and raped a woman at Kathmandu's international airport.

She was allegedly robbed by airport officials and raped by a police officer as she returned from Saudi Arabia in November.

The two officials and the police officer were arrested.

The latest data compiled by the UN show 69 complaints of rape were made to police in Nepal in 2006, but that figure is thought likely to underrepresent the problem.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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