NEW DELHI: Six men accused in the gang-rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss woman cyclist holidaying in India were sentenced to life terms Saturday by a fast-track Indian court.

“All the accused have been convicted and we are satisfied with the judgement,” said the public prosecutor in the case, Rajendra Tiwari, after the court ruling in central India, the semi-official Press Trust of India and other local media reported.

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.

India's legal system has faced intense scrutiny over its efforts to curb violence against women in the world's largest democracy following the Delhi gang rape in which the victim died of horrific internal injuries.

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.

The Swiss couple was reported to be on an adventure tourism trip in India and was cycling through the northern part of the country.

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

The other two accused were charged with assault and robbery but still received life-sentences at the court in Datia district.

Five of the men were farmers in their twenties while the sixth was 19 at the time of the attack, police said.

Weeks of massive demonstrations over the Delhi rape prompted India's parliament to toughen sex offence laws including doubling the minimum prison sentence for gang-rape to 20 years.

Part of the legal shake-up involved the establishment of fast-track courts to try accused rapists in India's clogged legal system where cases can often drag on for years.

The fast-track trial of four adult suspects in the Delhi rape – another died while in jail from a suspected suicide in March – is underway in the Indian capital.

A fifth accused is being tried as a juvenile.

One woman is raped every 20 minutes, the National Crime Records Bureau says. But the crime is vastly under-reported because of the social stigma associated with such attacks.

The publicity generated by the Delhi rape and the issue of violence against women in India led to a 35 percent fall in female visitors to India in the first three months of the year, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said recently.

Indian women are by far the main targets of rape. Earlier this month police arrested eight suspects over the gang-rape of four schoolgirls abducted from their convent boarding house in the country's east.

But there have been also been a string of cases involving foreign women over the past months.

Indian police said in June they were investigating the gang-rape of a US tourist by a group of truckers while an Irish charity worker was reported to have been raped in the eastern city of Kolkata that same month.

Indian officials say there is no need for alarm, pointing out that foreigners are victims of crime the world over and the vast majority of visitors experience no safety problems.

But travel advice from a host of countries stresses the need for visitors to take care in India.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (10)

Shri
July 20, 2013 11:43 pm

Hang them.

Dipesh Lall
July 20, 2013 11:52 pm

These six men should have been hanged. Rape is evil as it is but to rape a guest in your home demands exemplary punishment. Disgraceful cowards. Lock them up and throw away the keys. Let them rot.

Malik
July 21, 2013 1:39 am

Great News! The Indian legal system is working. The Pakistanis should learn this from India. Fast Track System, we have all the commonalities with India, what is wrong in asking them to help us. We know the jails in Pakistan are crowded where the criminals are never punished. The jails securities are alarming where the prisoners can do anything, examples are the latest incident in Central Jail, in Karachi and of course in Bannun and DG Khan where the prisoners were freed.

Farooq Mughal
July 21, 2013 1:41 am

Hope Pakistan learn something from this. What happened to the rapist involved in Mukhrana Mai's case, all got freed. Also hardy any rapist gets punishment in Pakistan. Interestingly, religious parties, always remain busy in anti-american protests but never take any action to help the rape victim.

Rez
July 21, 2013 1:44 am

Thanks to the glitz and glamor of Bollywood that things have come to this now,it shows an India which in reality does not exist but only in the minds of the Director and producers and when these youth come out in the real world India they get frustrated and hence take it out on the helpless females.

rana1
July 21, 2013 2:20 am

india a country where a female is neither safe in the womb nor outside

Sultan Alvi
July 21, 2013 6:47 am

Excellent performance by Indian police and judiciary. Pakistan should take a lesson from India in this. Good job India, we all salute you for quick and appropriate action. Bravo!

m. a
July 21, 2013 9:58 pm

India has done a good justice. I wish similar justice could be given to rapest in the Pakistan. The problem is that these criminals have politisons on their support. All the problems in the Pakistan are caused by the unlawful rich and political persons. The lawyers and judges decide upon the money they could get from the criminals.

Himanshu
July 22, 2013 12:11 am

@Rez: In arab, a lady from norway was raped, she reported it and after that she got jailed for 16 months.

Ram Narayanan
July 22, 2013 2:22 am

@rana1: Yeah, in Pakistan, women and girls are very safe, no?

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