Lawyer alleges police brutality in Delhi rape case

Updated 11 January 2013
0

Lawyer alleges police brutality in Delhi rape case

NEW DELHI: A defense lawyer accused Indian police Thursday of beating confessions out of five men charged with murdering and gang-raping a student in New Delhi, as they were due to appear in court again.
Speaking before a hearing at which a magistrate is expected to transfer the case to a fast-track court, M.L. Sharma told AFP that his clients had been beaten while in custody and were innocent of the charges.
A spokesman for Delhi police refused to comment on the allegations.
Sharma is defending three of the five adult defendants. The three are expected to plead not guilty to a string of charges over the brutal attack on a moving bus on December 16 which sparked mass protests across India.
The other two defendants have yet to get themselves a lawyer while a sixth accused, who is 17, will be tried in a juvenile court.
“All the accused have been badly beaten by the police and they have used the third degree to extract the statement that suits the evidence they have collected,” M.L. Sharma said outside Saket District Court in southern Delhi.
“My clients have been forced to confess to crimes that they did not commit.”
The five were expected to appear in court from about 2:30pm (0900 GMT) after their first appearance on Monday was marred by chaotic scenes which led the presiding magistrate to order the court cleared.
A court officer said Monday that the case would be transferred to a fast-track trial court during Thursday’s hearing, which will take place behind closed doors with media coverage restricted by a gagging order.
If the men are convicted, they could face the death penalty.
Police say the group lured the 23-year-old woman and a male companion onto the bus in New Delhi after they had spent the evening at the cinema and were trying to go home.
They then took it in turns to rape the woman and violate her with an iron bar as well as assault her partner before throwing them off the bus.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Sharma was quoted as saying the male companion of the murdered 23-year-old was “wholly responsible” for the incident because the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.
“Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” he told the financial newswire.
“Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”
Sharma told AFP that he had not been trying to smear the victim.
“I did speak to Bloomberg but did not say anything about the victim. I only told them that women are respected in India, they are mothers, sisters, friends but tell me which country respects a prostitute.”
Asked if that meant that he regarded the victim as a prostitute, Sharma replied: “No, not at all but I have to protect my clients and prove that they did not commit this heinous crime.”
The victim died in a Singapore hospital, 13 days after the attack which triggered mass protests across India and soul-searching over the levels of violence against women.
The father of the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a television interview he was proud of his daughter and believed her death had served as a badly-needed wake of call.
“She has brought an awakening to society. Society cannot any longer turn a blind eye to these sorts of incidences which are happening every day,” he told Britain’s ITV network.
“We have to change ourselves. If there are no change then these horrible things won’t stop. The public have to wake up now.”
While gang-rapes are commonplace in India, the Delhi case has touched a nerve, sparking three weeks of introspection about the widespread harassment and abuse of Indian women and their difficulty in reporting in sex crime.


Leaders of two Koreas hold surprise meeting as Trump revives summit hopes

Updated 27 May 2018
0

Leaders of two Koreas hold surprise meeting as Trump revives summit hopes

SEOUL/WASHINGTON: South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday in an effort to ensure that a high-stakes summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump takes place successfully, South Korean officials said.
The meeting was the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic flip-flops surrounding the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the two Korean leaders are trying to keep the on-again off-again summit on track.
Their two hours of talks at the Panmunjom border village came a month after they held the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade at the same venue. At that meeting, they declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-US summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” South Korea’s presidential spokesman said in a statement. He did not confirm how the meeting was arranged or which side asked for it.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said an advance team of White House and US State Department officials would leave for Singapore on schedule this weekend to prepare for a possible summit there.
Reuters reported earlier this week that a US advance team was scheduled to discuss the agenda and logistics for the summit with North Korean officials.
“There is a very strong possibility a US-North Korea summit could be back on very soon,” said Harry Kazianis of the conservative Center for the National Interest think-tank in Washington.
Whether one takes place depends on Kim agreeing to some sort of a realistic and verifiable denuclearization plan, added Kazianis, citing his own Trump administration sources. “If not, no summit. That is what it hinges on,” he said.
TRUMP HAILS “PRODUCTIVE TALKS“
In a letter to Kim on Thursday, Trump had said he was canceling the summit planned for June 12 in Singapore, citing North Korea’s “open hostility.”
But on Friday he indicated the meeting could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from Pyongyang.
“We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
In a tweet later, Trump cited “very productive talks” and said that if the summit were reinstated it would likely remain in Singapore on June 12, and that it could be extended if necessary.
A senior White House official told reporters on Thursday that organizing a summit by June 12 could be a challenge, given the amount of dialogue needed to ensure a clear agenda.
“And June 12 is in ... 10 minutes,” the official said.
If the summit is not held, some analysts warn that the prospect of a military confrontation between the two nations would rise, while a successful summit would mark Trump’s biggest foreign policy achievement.
The Trump administration is demanding that North Korea completely and irreversibly shutter its nuclear weapons program. Kim and Trump’s initial decision to meet followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over the program.
Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests, and has developed a long-range missile that could theoretically hit anywhere in the United States. Experts, however, are doubtful that North Korea possesses a warhead capable of surviving the stresses of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Video and a photo released by South Korea’s presidential Blue House on Saturday showed Kim hugging Moon and kissing him on the cheek three times as he saw Moon off after their meeting at Tongilgak, the North’s building in the truce village, which lies in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) — the 2.5-mile (4 km) wide buffer that runs along the heavily armed military border.
Video footage also showed Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, greeting Moon as he arrived at Tongilgak and shaking hands, before the South Korean leader entered the building flanked by North Korean military guards.
Moon is the only South Korean leader to have met a North Korean leader twice, both times in the DMZ, which is a symbol of the unending hostilities between the nations after the Korean War ended in 1953 in a truce, not a peace treaty.