Delhi gang-rape case: police accused of 'torturing' suspects
Lawyer claims accused men have been beaten, sexually assaulted and forced to drink urine
THE MEN charged with raping and murdering a 23-year-old Indian woman in Delhi have been "tortured" by police, a lawyer for three of the accused has claimed. He said their statements were therefore "worthless".
Six suspects were arrested days after physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh Pandey was gang-raped and beaten in a brutal attack on a Delhi bus before Christmas. Jyoti died from her injuries two weeks later.
Mohan Lal Sharma, who represents three of the six men, told The Guardian that following their detention, all those on trial for the attack were "brutally assaulted" by police.
"They were beaten most brutally… They were forced to drink urine and from the toilet. They were sexually assaulted with sticks in their backside. Whatever statements they made were made under duress and are worthless," he said.
The alleged assault with sticks is likely to have been direct retribution for the attack on Jyoti: the gang were said to have inserted an iron bar into her body, which caused fatal organ damage.
Five of the suspects appeared in a Delhi court today, where the case was adjourned until Monday.
Sharma told reporters afterwards that authorities - under pressure to quickly wrap up the case - would convict the suspects no matter what the evidence was, including forcing them to make incriminating statements.
Five of the men, aged between 19 and 35, face a potential death sentence for their alleged roles in the attack on 16 December, which led to widespread outrage and provoked massive protests across India. A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, is likely to be tried separately in a youth court.
The suspects allegedly lured Jyoti Singh and a male friend on to a bus at 9pm. After being repeatedly assaulted, the two victims were dumped on the roadside.
According to the Guardian, police face frequent accusations of abusing detainees and have been repeatedly criticised by human rights groups. Delhi police have refused to comment, citing legal restrictions.