India Gang Rape Suspects Blame Victim for Being Out 'on the Streets at Night'

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Three men who police say brutally raped 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey on a bus in New Delhi — after which one of them allegedly tried to run her over with it — will plead not guilty to charges of rape and murder. The men will, apparently, blame pretty much every gross thing you've heard about them on Indian cops, the victim, and her boyfriend. "Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady," says, Manohar Lal Sharma, the lawyer for the attorney representing the bus driver, his brother, and another man on the bus, in Andrew MacAskill's report for Bloomberg. "Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect."

In the eyes of the defense, then, what is supposed to define respect? "Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23-year-old was 'wholly responsible' for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night," MacAskill reported. "We are only hearing what the police are saying. This is manipulated evidence. It's all on the basis of hearsay and presumption," Sthe lawyeharma told Reuters. 

But doctors in Singapore said that Pandey, unnamed at the time, suffered abdominal injuries so severe that she needed three abdominal surgeries and eventually died from injuries sustained from her attack. And Pandey's boyfriend, who was with her on the bus, gave an interview to an Indian television station on January 4 and described the attack (via the AP):

"I gave a tough fight to three of them. I punched them hard. But then two others hit me with an iron rod," he said. The woman tried to call the police using her mobile phone, but the men took it away from her, he said. They then took her to the rear seats of the bus and raped her.

"The attack was so brutal I can't even tell you ... even animals don't behave like that," the man said.

Ram Singh, "the driver of the bus and the alleged ringleader," may have a particular interest in dispelling the account from police, which holds that after the initial attack... Singh tried to put the bus in reverse and run over her. Sharma's clients represent only half of the accused: "Five men are facing various charges including murder, rape and abduction. A sixth suspect is being investigated separately to determine if he is below the age of 18, as he says he is," reports Reuters. Prosecutors in the case have repeatedly insisted they will seek the death penalty in this case.

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