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Trial begins in India of gang-rape of Swiss cyclist


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A Swiss woman, center, who was gang-raped by a group of men while touring by bicycle with her husband, is escorted by policewomen for a medical examination at a hospital in Gwalior, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.—Photo by AP

NEW DELHI: The trial of six men accused in the shocking gang-rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss cyclist holidaying in India began on Saturday, police said.

The six were detained soon after the attack two weeks ago in a remote, forested area in Datia district in central Madhya Pradesh state where the woman was camping with her husband.

The trial opened with two prosecution witnesses recording statements and identifying possessions stolen from the Swiss couple that were recovered by police, the Press Trust of India reported.

The Swiss couple were not present during the proceedings and the court is likely to ask them to appear before it, the news agency said.

Judge Jitendra Kumar Sharma said the next hearing will be held in April when another prosecution witness, who helped the victim, will testify.

The Swiss woman was allegedly gang-raped on March 15. Her 30-year-old husband was tied up as the woman was assaulted and the pair were also robbed, according to police.

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 M.L. Dhody, a Datia police officer.

The other two accused are charged with assault and robbery.

Five of the suspects are farmers in their twenties while the sixth is 19, police said.

The incident came three months after the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a bus in Delhi, which sparked nationwide outrage.

The public anger prompted parliament to toughen sex offence laws including doubling the minimum prison sentence for gang-rape to 20 years.

The Swiss couple were cycling through northern India. The accused allegedly saw the pair pitching their tent and attacked them. The Press Trust of India said at least one of them was armed with a shotgun.

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Comments (4) Closed

Mar 31, 2013 01:38pm
All the glitzy glamor and sex being dolled out by Bollywood and the frustrated poor masses this is bound to happen It should be a warning to all Foreigners to avoid India at all cost as this is going to get worst.
Mar 31, 2013 02:28pm
It is sad that westerners who come to developing countries are most interested in slums and poverty than getting to know more about heritage, culture and growth. I live in USA, this guys are always afraid to walk in to poor black dominated areas, but they dont exercise cautions when walking into slums of developing countries.
anil tiwari
Mar 31, 2013 02:51pm
It is foolish of any person to camp unarmed in the jungles of the Chambal Region. Chambal has a long history of bandits & criminals. Many Bollywood stories have been made around the Chambal Dacoits. Although, the big gangs have been wiped out there are still many miscreants who masquerade as Dacoits and exploit unarmed passerby's. The Swiss couple appear to be ill-informed, because had the approached the local authorities the Police would have provided them with armed guards. I on my part move around in these parts fully armed i.e every person carries at least one weapon.
Mar 31, 2013 06:03pm
Hang them if they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.