Woman identifies Uber cabbie as rape trial starts in India

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A woman allegedly raped in an Uber taxi in the Indian capital "confidently" gave evidence Thursday against the driver at the start of his trial in a fast-track court, the prosecutor said.

Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, kidnap and criminal intimidation after he allegedly attacked his female passenger as she returned home from dinner with friends in December.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, formally identified Yadav as her attacker while giving evidence on day one of the trial, public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told reporters.

"She (the alleged victim) gave her statement confidently. She saw the man and immediately said: 'He is the person'," Shrivastava said outside the court in New Delhi.

"She appeared angry, obviously. If someone curses you, you would be angry. Imagine her situation - that anger is more than justified." Uber was banned from operating in Delhi after the attack, with authorities accusing the web-based firm of failing to perform adequate background checks on its drivers.

The December 5 attack again raised the issue of women's safety in Delhi, which has been dubbed India's "rape capital" after a string of high-profile sex assaults.

India's legal system is usually notoriously sluggish and rape victims can often wait years for justice.

But Yadav's trial is starting less than six weeks after the assault, and in a special court that was set up two years ago in the wake of a fatal gang-rape of a physiotherapy student.

The horrific attack on a moving bus in Delhi triggered mass protests and outrage over violence against women in India.

The Uber case was adjourned until Friday when the woman is expected to be cross-examined by Yadav's lawyers.

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