11 Jan 2013

Rape accused tortured and forced to confess - lawyer

1:53 pm on 11 January 2013

A lawyer who intends to represent at least one of the men in the Delhi rape case says some of the accused have been tortured and coerced into admitting the crime.

Manohar Lal Sharma said his client Mukesh Singh, 22, was tortured for 10 days. He said his client was forced to confess and would plead not guilty.

"He was coerced into admission," said Mr Sharma outside the court on Thursday morning before a procedural hearing. "He's unable to speak now.

"All these people have been tortured badly. It's under pressure that they have made statements in court," he added.

"Evidence has been manipulated to calm the anger among people."

Earlier, Mr Sharma said he would also represent two other suspects - but they are now being represented by other lawyers.

At least one other suspect, Pawan Gupta, plans to plead not guilty too, his lawyer confirmed. It is unclear how the other three suspects will plead.

Prosecutors have said they have extensive forensic evidence.

The BBC reports all five suspects appeared in court for a second time amid heavy security on Thursday, before the case was adjourned until Monday.

Death penalty

A woman, who cannot be named in India for legal reasons, and a male friend were attacked on a bus in south Delhi on 16 December. She died two weeks later in a hospital in Singapore.

The BBC reports the case has shocked India and prompted a debate about the treatment of women.

If convicted, the five men face the death penalty.

A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, will be tried separately in a youth court if it is confirmed he is a minor.