Indian gang-rape suspect may be juvenile

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NEW DELHI -- A bone test is being conducted to confirm the age of a juvenile suspect in custody for the fatal assault and gang-rape of a young woman, while prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the other five men arrested with him, police said yesterday.

The six will be formally charged in court on Thursday on accusations that they kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered the 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in the capital New Delhi on Dec. 16, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

Media reports say some 30 witnesses have been gathered, and the charges have been detailed in a document running more than 1,000 pages.

Outraged Indians have been demanding the death penalty for the six men, holding demonstrations almost every day since the rape. Murder is punishable by death and rape by life imprisonment. But those younger than 18 cannot be prosecuted for murder.

Another police officer said a bone test is being conducted to determine if the youngest suspect in the case is indeed a juvenile. If the test determines he is 18 years or older he will be treated as a legal adult, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose sensitive information.-- AP

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