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India jails six over Swiss gang-rape case

Court sentences six men to life imprisonment over the attack of a female tourist in March this year.

Last Modified: 20 Jul 2013 16:30
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The six sentenced to life on Saturday were detained soon after the attack on the Swiss woman in mid-March [AFP]

Six men accused in the gang-rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss woman cyclist holidaying in India have been sentenced to life in prison by a court in central India, according to media reports.

"All the accused have been convicted and we are satisfied with the judgement," said Rajendra Tiwari, the public prosecutor, after the ruling was handed down by a special court on Saturday.

Only four of the six were charged with gang-rape because testimony from the  victim said two of them were "only present at the crime scene", according to ML Dhody, a Datia police officer.

The other two accused were charged with assault and robbery.

Brutal sex crimes

The rape of the Swiss woman came three months after the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a bus in Delhi in December, which brought simmering anger about the treatment of women in India to the surface.

The six sentenced to life on Saturday were detained soon after the attack on the Swiss woman in mid-March in a remote, forested area of Datia district in central Madhya Pradesh state where the victim was camping with her husband.

Her 30-year-old husband was tied up as the woman was assaulted and the pair were also robbed, according to police. 

Brutal sex crimes are common in India, which has a population of 1.2 billion, and UNICEF says one in three rape victims in India are children.

India's legal system has faced intense scrutiny over its efforts to curb violence against women following the Delhi rape.

Mass protests erupted nationwide in December and January following the fatal gang-rape.

Parliament has passed laws aimed at better protecting women, including doubling the minimum prison sentence for gang-rape to 20 years.

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Source:
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