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Asia-pacific

Last suspect arrested in India gang-rape case

© AFP

Video by Mandakini Gahlot

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-25

Mumbai police have arrested all five men suspected of raping a photographer Thursday and said they are ready to press charges. The case has reignited anger about sexual violence against women in India after a similar attack last year.

Mumbai police Sunday arrested the fifth and final member of a gang suspected of raping a photographer, a crime that reignited anger about women's safety in India following a similar attack last year.

Police arrested the fifth suspect on Sunday in New Delhi, the capital, after rounding up the other four in Mumbai.

FRANCE 24 's correspondent in New Delhi Mandakini Gahlot said the police claimed he had been trying to escape to Bangladesh. 

“We will file a comprehensive charge sheet soon,” said Mumbai's police commissioner, Satyapal Sing. He assured that police had the evidence to prosecute the suspects, including the victim’s testimony and medical samples taken at the hospital where she was treated after the assault.

The victim, a 22-year-old Indian woman, said she was anxious to return to work after Thursday night's assault, in which five men repeatedly raped her while her male colleague was beaten and tied up in an abandoned textile mill in the country's financial capital.

“I want no other women in this city and country to go through such brutal physical humiliation, no punishment short of a life term will take away the pain and humiliation I underwent,” the victim told the National Commission on women, according to a statement seen by FRANCE 24’s Mandakini Gahlot.

A statement from Jaslok Hospital, where she has been since the attack, said her condition was being monitored but that she is “much better” and is being visited by family.

Indian law forbids identifying rape victims by name.

Public outcry

It is rare for rape victims to visit police or a hospital immediately after an attack in India, where an entrenched culture of tolerance for sexual violence has led to many cases going unreported.

Following public outcry at the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi last December, however, the federal government created fast-track courts for rape cases, doubled prison terms for rape and criminalised voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.

Under intense pressure, police have acted quickly to hunt down the five suspects in the Mumbai case. Home Minister R. R. Patil visited investigators at a Mumbai police station Saturday night, and the government has urged the harshest punishment for those found guilty.

The five suspects — including two picked up overnight and two arrested earlier — are likely to face prosecution under a strict new law that sets the maximum prison term for rape at 20 years.

A court on Saturday ordered two suspects held until August 30, and police say one will undergo medical tests to determine his age after his family said he was a juvenile of 16. Police maintain he is 19, which makes him eligible for trial as an adult.

The men allegedly trapped and raped the woman on Thursday evening in an upmarket district of central Mumbai, where she was on assignment for a magazine, police have said.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-08-25

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