New Delhi, India – An Indian rape suspect allegedly hung himself in jail on Monday, according to an official. The man, Ram Singh, is in prison on charges of raping and fatally beating a woman in a gang assault last year.
Singh was housed in New Delhi’s Tihar Prisons. While it is believed that the rape suspect hung himself, friends are doubtful, and a coroner has yet to release an official report.
The suspect is one of five men charged with the murder, rape, and kidnapping of a 23-year-old woman on December 16. The case brought international attention on India’s sexual harassment problem. A sixth suspect is 17 and will be tried in juvenile court.
Most women in the country have stories about sexual harassment and abuse they received on public transportation or on the streets. The country is also known for its poor handling of rape cases in the past.
Sunil Gupta, a spokesman for the Tihar jail, stated that Ram Singh was found hanging in his cell with an improvised rope made from a blanket. He was reported dead around 5 am local time on Monday. An inquiry has been ordered into the India rape suspect’s death an a post mortem exam will take place later on Monday.
Gupta denied reports that Ram Singh was on suicide watch, saying that three people were sharing his prison cell at the time of his death. Singh’s lawyer, VK Anand, was shocked by the news of his client’s death. He added, “There were no circumstances to suggest that he would commit suicide. He was happy with the trial, it was going on smoothly.”
Singh’s father also expressed doubt that the rape suspect hung himself. Mangelal Singh stated that his son had a injured hand that would have prevented him from performing the act. He added that Ram Singh was raped repeatedly in jail by other inmates and was threatened multiple times by prisoners and guards. He added, “My son has not committed suicide.”
Ram and the other adult defendants — Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Gupta — face 13 charges in total. If they are found guilty, they will face the death sentence.
The complex where the rape suspect reportedly committed suicide saw 18 deaths last year, only two of which were cases of suicide.
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