Three of the five accused attackers in a violent gang rape of a medical student in India will enter pleas of not guilty, according to the BBC.
Manohar Lal Sharma, who is representing three of the five men accused of brutally abducting and raping a 23 year old medical student who died of her injuries two weeks later, told the BBC that he would be filing representation letters for the three accused men challenging the way the police handled evidence in the case. “I believe the accused should get a fair trial and I have come forward to represent them,” he stated.
This news comes a day after the court ruled that the preliminary hearings for the case will be heard privately. Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal declared “It has become completely impossible to proceed” after a hearing on the case was delayed for two hours when police were unable to restore order in a court room filled with over 100 lawyers and reporters. As a result she determined that neither the media, public, nor lawyers who are not directly related to the case will be allowed in the court room.
Meanwhile, international outrage over the incident as well as several domestic rape cases has sparked protests in the neighboring country of Nepal. “The media attention to protests in Delhi has raised awareness on issues of violence against women in Nepal,” said Manju Gurung, a member of an organization that advocates for female migrant workers, Pourakhi. Demonstrators as part of the Occupy Baluwatar movement have been protesting outside the prime minister’s residence and other official buildings. Occupy Baluwatar has been raising awareness for a rape case that gathered national attention in Nepal at the same time as the case in New Delhi became public.