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India Rape Trial Begins In Fast Track Court
The trial of five men accused over the brutal gang rape and murder of a young woman has started in a fast-track court in Delhi.
Proceedings inside the court are being held in-camera - behind closed doors - and are subject to a media gagging order.
Dayan Krishnan, one of the prosecutors, announced the start of the hearing to reporters packed outside the courtroom.
"The trial has begun," he said. "The charge sheet has been submitted before the judge and the arguments will begin on January 24."
The start of the hearing was delayed by a failed application to overturn the reporting ban and make the proceedings public.
The victim - a 23-year-old medical student - died after the attack on a moving bus in the capital last month, sparking nationwide protests about violence against women.
The accused, who could face the death penalty if convicted, are also charged with kidnap, robbery and conspiracy.
The defendants have been named as Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta.
Their faces were covered with woollen scarves as they arrived at the district court in Saket in Delhi.
A sixth suspect in the attack claims to be 17. If this is confirmed, his case is likely to be heard in a juvenile court where the maximum sentence is three years in a reform facility.
A lawyer representing Sharma on Monday claimed his client was also under 18 - and not aged 20 as on the police charge sheet - and called for his case to be moved to a juvenile court, a ruling on which is expected on Thursday.
Defence lawyers have said they will enter not guilty pleas for the five men and accuse police of torturing the adult defendants - aged between 19 and 35 - to confess.
A lawyer for one of the defendants has made an application to the Supreme Court for the trial to be transferred out of the capital, where pressure for a conviction is intense.
Manohar Lal Sharma, defending Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus on which the victim was gang-raped, said it would be impossible for his client to receive a fair hearing in the city where the December 16 attack took place.
His petition will be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Indian government last year set up six fast-track courts specifically to deal with crimes against women in the wake of the attack.
Sky's Alex Rossi, in Delhi, said Mr Sharma has asked for the case to be moved to Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh "because the atmosphere in Delhi is so fevered and so against his client".
"Legal analysts that I have spoken to don't think that that petition will hold much track, and they think the case will continue here," he said.
The victim's family has called for swift justice and for her attackers to be hanged.