Lawyer says his clients were 'coerced into admission'
A possible defence lawyer for three of the men charged with the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Dehli has said today that they have been tortured and forced into admitting to the charge.
All five suspects appeared in court in the Indian capital on Thursday morning, where Manohar Lal Sharma said that one of his 22 year old clients had been tortured for 10 days.
‘He was coerced into admission’, the lawyer said, adding: ‘All these people have been tortured badly, it is under pressure that they have made statements in court.’
The lawyer also said that the police have manipulated the evidence in order to calm the widespread outrage in the country.
However, Sunil Gupta, a spokesperson for Tihar Jail, where the five suspects are currently being held, said to the BBC that they were all being held in different areas of the prison ‘where their safety was guaranteed’.
No decision was made this morning on whether to move the high profile case to a fast-track trial, with the court ruling that the charge sheet required further scrutiny. If convicted, the five men will face the death penalty.
The victim, Joyti Singh Pandey, was on her way home on a bus with a male friend on December 16 when the attack took place. She died two weeks later in hospital in Singapore.
The case has shocked India and prompted widespread debate about the treatment of women. Campaigners are calling for tougher rape laws and reforms within the police, who they claim fail to file charges against those involved in sex attacks.