The men accused in the gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old Indian woman were formally charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in a New Delhi court Thursday, a senior police official said.
The attack on the woman, who died from her severe injuries last week, has appalled and enraged many Indians, prompting widespread debate over the way the country handles sexual assaults and the treatment of women in Indian society.
Numerous protests have taken place, new laws have been proposed and senior lawyers in the court district where the accused men have been charged say they will not represent them.
Police submitted charges against five suspects before a new fast-track court in Saket, a southern district of New Delhi, said Suman Nalwa, deputy police commissioner of a special unit for women and children.
He said authorities were waiting for the outcome of a bone marrow test before deciding whether a sixth suspect in the attack, believed to be a minor, will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.
The results of the test, intended to determine the suspect's exact age, should come soon, Nalwa said.
The trial will begin this week once all the evidence is gathered, he said.
As well as counts of murder, kidnapping and rape, the men face charges including voluntarily causing harm during a robbery, armed robbery with murder, and destruction of evidence. If convicted, several of the offenses are punishable by death or life imprisonment.
The victim, whose name has not been released, died Saturday in a Singapore hospital, where she received treatment after being airlifted from New Delhi.
The men are accused of assaulting the woman and her male companion on a bus in the Indian capital on December 16, robbing them of their belongings before dumping them at the side of a road, police said.