Were the Delhi Rape Suspects Tortured by Police?

Five suspects finally appear in court with legal representation, but how their case will be conducted amid both legal and popular chaos remains to be seen.

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SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP / Getty Images

Indian police personnel guide a vehicle, which is believed to be carrying the accused in a gangrape and murder case, at an entrance to Saket District Court in New Delhi, Jan. 7, 2013.

Five suspects in the now infamous Delhi gang-rape case appeared for a second day in court on Thursday. The men came with legal representation for the first time since their arrest last month, after a local bar association and other lawyers in the Indian capital refused to represent them in court. The proceedings were held behind closed doors; after the case’s initial hearing on Monday got off to a chaotic start, the judge ordered that the proceedings and upcoming trial would be held in camera only, a decision that was upheld yesterday.

The lawyer of one of the men told several media outlets outside the court today that the five suspects were beaten and tortured while in police custody, a claim that, while hardly unheard of in India, is bound to feature largely in this high-profile case. The Delhi police have not commented on the allegation. The lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, was reportedly one of the first to come forward earlier this week to publicly offer to defend the accused. Since then, other lawyers have been assigned to defend three of the men. It is unclear whether the fifth suspect has been assigned a lawyer or not.

(PHOTOS: In India, a Rape Sparks Violent Protests and Demands for Justice)

Sharma also said that his client, the brother of the driver of the bus aboard which a 23-year-old student was allegedly raped and beaten on Dec. 16, will plead not guilty in the upcoming trial. Some of the other suspects are expected to do the same. The sixth individual arrested in connection with the case, if he is found to be below the age of 18 as he claims to be, is expected to be charged and tried in a juvenile court.

India has been in an uproar since the morning of Dec. 17, when the country woke up to the news of the chilling crime committed in the capital’s busy streets. A physiotherapy student was on her way home from a movie when she and her male friend took a ride on what they thought was a privately run commuter bus. They were both beaten severely, and the girl was raped. Both were thrown out of the bus naked and left for dead on the side of the road. Two weeks later, after multiple surgeries and treatment in a Singapore hospital, the woman died from her injuries, sending the nation into mourning.

The case has raised serious questions about attitudes toward women in India and the efficacy of law enforcement in the capital in particular, where many believe that police and the court system often fail them. As weeks of protests unfolded in New Delhi and other parts of the country, authorities have taken several measures both to ensure greater security in the capital region and to expedite legal proceedings in sexual-assault cases, which often move slowly through the system, if at all.

(MORE: India’s Gang-Rape Case: As Accused Go to Court, Unease Settles over Delhi)

But the notion of “fast track” courts for this and other sexual-assault cases has raised concerns. The suspects in the Dec. 16 attack have been charged with rape and murder, among other crimes, and prosecutors have indicated that they will seek the death penalty in the upcoming trial. It is not yet certain whether this case will be fast-tracked or not, but observers are already worried that the lack of early legal representation for the suspects that appeared today in court may be grounds for appeal later if any of the men are convicted.

In the three weeks since the assault, India’s dailies have featured a steady flow of reports of disturbing sexual assaults on women. A month ago, these stories — and the larger issue of sexual assault in India — played out in the background of bigger news events. “There are rape cases in almost all cities and rural areas, where the victim dies immediately because of the brutality of the crime,” says Anne Stenhammer, the regional program director for U.N. Women South Asia. “This time, it was like, ‘Wake up.'”

With the problem back in the spotlight, the papers are also filled with reports of a seemingly endless series of gaffes from political and social leaders as they attempt to opine on the matter. In one of the latest, a parliamentarian for the opposition BJP party told reporters on Thursday that “the rape of grownup girls and women might be understandable but if someone does this to an infant, it is a heinous crime and the offenders should be hanged.” Theories on what makes women vulnerable to assault, ranging from India’s westernization to short skirts to a victim’s spiritual piety, have all have been making the rounds, a testament to how out of touch some of India’s leaders are when it comes to the status of women.
MORE: After New Delhi Gang Rape, Should the Culprits Be Executed?
MORE: New Delhi’s Women Problem: What Does It Take to Make a Society Safe?
38 comments
where44
where44

It can happen to anyone not even in india but any part and any corner of the world. 

But society can never be insensitive  and  kill the Humanity...............!!

VikramKris
VikramKris

where44 ... if something like this had happened to your dear one and you wanted the culprits to be booked in I am not sure if you would still have shown the same concern for Society!!Get a Life man and FYI its because of People who think like you that the Laws on Rape in India is so messed you....

ShivaniKumar
ShivaniKumar

gud they were beaten up bt that was too less they should be totured in such a way that they shoud beg for death but they wont recive it

lichad
lichad like.author.displayName 1 Like

Good they were tortured. Now castrate them and chop off their hands.

where44
where44

@lichad An individual can be cruel and brutal but a society can never be.

This kind of treatment and punishment is inhumane........!!

VikramKris
VikramKris like.author.displayName 1 Like

If they were Tortured...I am very Happy...what do you expect were they going to give the name of the other accused by giving them Tea and Biscuits...Well done Delhi Police!!

mohittkws
mohittkws

where44, how can you even think of it?? you mean x was raping her in front of y and y just chose to shut her up or hold her hands or beat her, so y should be spared or dealt with leniency because y didnt rape her??? people like you and Mr. Manohar Lal Sharma give these and other potential/future criminals a hope that they can still escape after committing such crimes in our country! i condemn your comment strongly

where44
where44

@mohittkws  How can you imagine that.......I did't say any thing like that. I had transparently

stated that all are offenders and should be given stringent punishment. But I still stand firmly

with possibility of that out of all of them even only one might have raped.

where44
where44

It seems we are carried away by emotions. Though i am no supporter of them. 

They have committed crime and are offender some way or other, and should

be given stringent  punishment. But one thing is there crime of all six offender

may vary. There is much possibilities that all of six might have  not committed 

rape. So far prosecutor have not proved it. As far as crime and offence is concern

we can not measure all of them with the same yard stick. We can not be biased....!! 


akshay4all
akshay4all

@where44 hey nonsense mental  creature  that girl told  everything  in hospital about this brutal crime of these devils that one by one driver were changing to drive bus to rape her and all of them together severlycontinuosly  beat and  torchured her with  L shaped iron rod and same iron they inserted in her and pulled out so forcely her intestrines came out...  you are really sick minded..  first get all details  about this incident and then comment here you jerk..  she had told each and everything how she fought she beat and she bit 3 of them during her fight to save herself...   but sad  one girl how cud save her from six pigs who were with iron rods..     now understand  you mental jerk or even wanted more then go with her friend's explained details , her families member's talk with her  ... 

Baileys789
Baileys789

It appears the thugs who raped and murdered the young woman are known or related to each other. It is likely they have done this kind of crime before. One can only hope that victims will find courage to come forward and denounce them.

Thetruthteller
Thetruthteller

What? Oh, yes...you're breaking my heart. Yawn! Whatever..! Lemme go cry some croc tears for those specimens now.

On another note, I was friendly once with many cops from a certain third-world country, though I suspect that police m.o. cuts pretty much across national borders, and this policeman in particular, young, handsome, and soft-spoken, a more amiable soul hard to imagine, related quite matter-of-factly to me on one occasion how cops sometimes dish out discipline and deterrence on detainees (with somewhat less alliteration, though). It mainly involves avoiding leaving any incriminating marks, especially on the subject's face, and "channeling" partially-padded blows to the torso, and occasionally straying by some sensitive areas. Any damage is thus kept internal, and hopefully, without the skin evidencing any bruises or lacerations. Personally, I largely admire the forces of law and order, but this and other confidences told me by my friend left me with the feeling that I would rather not find myself on the wrong side of any such fraternal organization.


BeanCube
BeanCube

Those rapists should at least torture themselves if they want to live and show some respect to the population.

GaboonViper67
GaboonViper67

Were they tortured? Hopefully, they were corn-holed.

where44
where44

If it is so It is brutal of Delhi Police. They should be rational not biased. 

akshay4all
akshay4all

@where44 all commentaters here dont dont go thru this comment..  this person is sick minded and came from mental hospital just some days back..  next time when somone wud be raped in his family then we will ask  from this jerk  forgive them 

ManojPandey
ManojPandey

First of all, kudos to TIME for such a useless and shameful report. My suggestion, why not publish a strong article about HUMAN RIGHTS OF RAPISTS. 

Second, I am an Indian and not proud of it. Yes, nobody should do business with India because almost all the benefits are reaped by Politicians and Businessmen.

Third, no matter how civilized we claim ourself to be, at core we are still very low on human values, had it not been the case, we would have never been enslaved. Selfishness and greed of few people has overshadowed the greatness of good people. Why?? because most of us Indians are cowards and like to lick boots.


GalenKearney
GalenKearney like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

"Were the Delhi Rape Suspects Tortured by Police?"

One can only hope.


talkthetrue
talkthetrue

Do you guys know the reality ? Had it happened in US/ UK and does your editor allow to publish such an useless report ?

Joey1111
Joey1111 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Will TIME please stop with the misleading and provocative titles? The accused lawyer has made this statement. Of course, he has to make a case to try and nullify the confessions. It's part of how cases are fought. Does it mean you will write another article about this incident and make THIS as the headline? Really? 

HolgerDanske
HolgerDanske like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is a blatant whitewash of the lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, who claims that "respectable" women are never raped. Shakespeare was right about lawyers.

hanrod1
hanrod1

Of course they were tortured in police custody, not at all unusual there, as has been frequently reported. For this, the endemic corruption, the superstition, the culture and many other reasons, IND'JA is a disgusting country, and we should not be doing business with it in any form, nor should we accept immigration or visa applicants from them.

Picasso
Picasso

@hanrod1 One hand you people keep singing globalization songs all over the world in order to capture and penetrate markets in other countries and when it comes to doing some business with them you say we should not be doing that. Now that's a disgusting thinking.

Joey1111
Joey1111

Police custody torture is because of superstition? That's new. Thank you for sharing that. Regarding not doing business with India, tell that to the MNC's beating down India's doors to allow FDI into retail and other sectors. Every country has issues, one or the other kind. No 'country' can be disgusting. I would never say that about your country. I may say that about you.  

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed like.author.displayName 1 Like

Violence upon violence upon violence.  God, I'm so tired of it.

katyaduras
katyaduras

It is estimated that there are 264 rapes of females occurring each day, which amounts to 11 rapes per hour. By any stretch of the imagination, this is an astounding figure when one takes into consideration that many rapes have gone unreported. Some critics say that the relative inferior status of girls in some cultures makes them susceptible because rape is treated as a private matter and remains underreported. . ‘Personhood’ is a theory that is based on just that, pseudo science and should be treated as a weapon for ‘right to life’ advocates.Shame on those who seek to use science in this way. It just summons up memories of the past when science was used to marginalize and limit people’s rights. See more go to thegreaterbook and click on ‘Are Women the Superior Gender?’

 

joshigee
joshigee like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sure, the cops must have beaten them up. 

Don't you see how much extra work the rapists created for them? If there had been no rape reported, the Delhi police could be out relaxing in the sun. But now, with this rape becoming so high profile, they cannot rest, cannot demand a bribe to register a case, and worst of all, cannot take liberties with a woman. 

Now, every time a woman walks into a police station, the cops have to look alert, register a report without demanding a payoff, cannot pass sexist comments . Heck, all the fun is gone, no more bribes to register a case, not even teasing a woman who walks in.  

No wonder they are upset with the rapists. 

Did you really think they care that a woman was raped and lost her life? 

vkmo
vkmo

Lata Mangeshkar sang the song about male nature "Aurat ne janam diya"..... "jab jee chaaha machla kuchla" ... she believed it herself and consequently never got married.

AnneMH
AnneMH

Don't understand how someone could be that lacking in morals that he would defend rapists. Then again, I've known some lawyers to approve of pretty despicable acts. It's a shame the cops didn't just kill them and get it over with.

JasonBellingham
JasonBellingham

Manohar Lal Sharma, I am ashamed of YOU being a MAN!  Don't defend the r@pists!


Heian
Heian

Nice to see that political leaders of other nations can be as out of touch as some of ours.