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New Delhi -
An Indian court is expected to deliver its verdict on Tuesday in the case of four men charged with the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, some nine months after the crime shocked India and triggered global outrage.
Judge Yogesh Khanna is to pronounce his judgement at the fast-track court in the capital's southern area of Saket, defence lawyers said.
If the suspects are convicted, “there is a possibility that the court could announce the sentence today itself, we will see,” said VK Anand, a lawyer for one of the defendants.
All the accused have denied charges that include murder, gang rape, abduction, destroying evidence and criminal conspiracy. They could face the death penalty if found guilty.
In the first verdict in the high-profile case, an 18-year-old was convicted on August 31 of rape and murder by a juvenile court. As he was only 17 at the time of the crime, he was sentenced to three years at a reform home, the maximum penalty for a minor.
Including the juvenile, six men were charged in the case. One was found hanged in his prison cell in March.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was repeatedly raped and beaten in a bus on December 16 and died two weeks later. The attack triggered nationwide protests that prompted several changes to the punishments for sexual crimes under Indian law.
The trial court has held 130 hearings in the trial since it began on February 5. The prosecution presented 85 witnesses and the defence 17.
The family of the victim has demanded the death penalty for the four accused. - Sapa-dpa