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Six Men Accused of Raping Swiss Woman to Appear in Indian Court

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March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Six men arrested over the alleged gang rape of a 39-year-old Swiss woman as she camped with her husband in a forest in central India will appear in court today.

The assault comes three months after the rape and murder of a medical student in the Indian capital triggered nationwide protests and spurred tougher laws to curb sex crimes. In India a woman was raped every 22 minutes in 2011, the most recent National Crime Records Bureau data show.

Four of the men have been charged with rape and assault and two others with aiding them, said D.K. Arya, deputy inspector general of police for the Chambal area of Madhya Pradesh. All have confessed to the crime, Arya said. A mobile phone, laptop computer and other belongings of the Swiss couple were recovered from the accused, he said.

The gang attacked on the night of March 15 at Jharia village, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Datia town, where the couple had decided to camp during a cycling holiday. The men first overpowered the husband and four of the accused then raped the woman, police said.

December’s brutal attack on the 23-year-old medical student in New Delhi shocked India and reverberated around the world, triggering street protests and drawing attention to the scale of sexual violence against women in the world’s largest democracy. India’s government has toughened sentences for sexual assaults amid the public outcry.

The Swiss couple are in New Delhi for further treatment, Arya said. Police will seek custody of the six men when they appear in court in Datia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hari Govind at hgovind@bloomberg.net

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