Defense Begins Final Arguments in Delhi Gang-Rape Case


A lawyer for the men on trial over the fatal gang-rape last year of an Indian student branded her male colleague unreliable on Tuesday and called his testimony "a bundle of lies".

A court in India's capital is hearing closing arguments in the trial of four men for the attack on the student last December, a case that sparked angry protests over violence against women.

A defense lawyer for two of the men said there were inconsistencies in the statements made to police by the 23-year-old woman, who died two weeks after the attack on a moving bus.

Lawyer A. P. Singh also targeted the woman's male friend, who was severely beaten during the attack, accusing him of being an "unreliable witness" and calling his account of the incident "nothing but a bundle of lies".

"He (the friend) does not remember what happened before they boarded the bus and what happened after they were allegedly dumped out of the bus," Singh told the court.

"But he clearly remembers what happened during the time they were on the bus," he said.

The four men on trial, who have all pleaded not guilty, are accused of raping the physiotherapy student and brutally assaulting her with an iron rod.

Police allege the men then dumped her, and the male friend, along a highway naked and bleeding.

A fifth defendant was found dead in his jail cell in March after an apparent suicide, while a sixth suspect has been tried by a juvenile court.

The court's verdict on the teenager is expected on Saturday.

The attack shook India and led to nationwide protests calling for better policing and harsher punishments for violent crimes against women.

The outrage led to a tougher anti-rape law that included increased punishment for sex offenders, who face the death penalty if a victim dies, and a broader definition of sexual assault.

Prosecutors wrapped up their final arguments on Monday, saying they had presented a "complete and comprehensive case" on the attack backed by medical and scientific proof.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, who was been hearing the case since the trial began in February, will deliver his verdict once the arguments conclude.

The case is being keenly watched amid criticism that cases drag on for years in India's overburdened courts before reaching their conclusions.

The family of the victim has demanded the death penalty for all the accused.

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