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India gang rape suspects plead not guilty

Five of 6 suspects face death penalty if convicted of murder, rape after sensational case in New Delhi sparks outrage.

India rape protest 01 27 2013Enlarge
An Indian protester shouts slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi on January 29, 2013, against last month's gang rape and murder of a student. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Five of the six men on trial for the gang rape and murder in India pleaded not guilty today during a brief court appearance.

They face a maximum penalty of death if convicted, Al Jazeera reported. The sixth is 17 and will face trial in juvenile court.

“After the judge read out the charges, the five pleaded not guilty and walked out,” defence lawyer A.P. Singh told reporters.

The men are accused of luring a 23-year-old student and her male friend onto a bus in New Delhi last December.

They beat the man with a metal bar and raped the woman, a physiotherapy student, before dumping them both naked on the side of a highway.

The suspects faced 13 charges in a hastily arranged court date fast-tracked after the case sparked mass public outrage, The Associated Press reported.

They face charges of rape, murder, destroying evidence and kidnapping, the AP reported.

The woman died two weeks later after she was flown to a hospital in Singapore.

Witnesses are to begin testifying on Tuesday, the Independent said.

More from GlobalPost: India’s gang rape trial begins in Delhi

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/130202/india-gang-rape-suspects-plead-not-guilty