Delhi rape trial Victim's friend testifies
Source: The Sangai Express / Agencies

New Delhi, February 05 2013: The trial of five men accused of raping a young woman in the Indian capital on Dec.

16 began Tuesday and the victim's friend, who was on the private bus where the crime allegedly took place, testified for the prosecution, according to lawyers and police involved in the case.

A senior police officer, as well as lawyers for all five men on trial, said outside court that the male friend positively identified the accused and provided other details as a prosecution witness.

A Delhi police van believed to be carrying the five accused left the Saket court complex in New Delhi, Jan.

24 .

The five men face a range of charges including rape, kidnapping and murder; the young woman died of the injuries she sustained in the assault.

All five have pleaded not guilty.

The friend, who hasn't been named by The Wall Street Journal out of respect for Indian law concerning the identification of rape victims, was himself badly beaten in the assault, according to the young man and police.

He is undergoing treatment for his injuries in Delhi and police brought him to the court in a wheelchair Tuesday morning.

He was accompanied by his father and another relative.

"We will follow the case till justice is done," his father told reporters outside the court Tuesday morning.

Lawyers for the accused men said they expect cross-examination of the male friend to begin Wednesday.

The male friend, a software engineer, and the rape victim boarded a private bus around 9 p.m.on Dec.

16 on their way home from a movie, according to the male friend and police.

They allege that the only others on the bus were the five men and a juvenile who is facing proceedings in a juvenile court.

The two were then assaulted with iron rods and the young woman was raped before both were dumped naked at the side of a highway, where they were rescued, according to police and the young man.

The case sparked protests over the lack of safety for women in India, garnered worldwide attention, and has led to the Indian government strengthening laws relating to sexual assault.

In the coming weeks, at least 80 witnesses are expected to be examined by public prosecutors and defense lawyers involved in the case, according to the Delhi police.

The trial of the five men is being held at a special fast-track court at the Saket district court complex in south Delhi.

Separately, the Delhi police Monday evening filed a supplementary charge sheet that included a post mortem report from the Singapore hospital where the victim died two weeks after the incident, a Delhi police official at the court said.

The victim had been transferred to Singapore for specialist treatment.

She died on Dec 29 and her body was returned to India for cremation.

The police had earlier filed in court a detailed document of more than 600 pages containing the charges.

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