Body of dead Indian rape defendant given to family
NEW DELHI (AP) — The body of a man who died in a New Delhi jail while in the midst of a high-profile rape trial was released to his family Tuesday after a post-mortem exam aimed at determining whether he committed suicide or was killed.
Ram Singh, 33, was found dead at New Delhi's Tihar Jail early Monday, in a small cell he shared with three other prisoners. Authorities said he hanged himself, but his family and lawyer insisted foul play was involved. A magistrate is investigating.
The Press Trust of India, citing police sources, reported that the initial post mortem showed Singh died due to hanging and suggested he committed suicide.
Singh was facing the death penalty in his trial for the gang rape and fatal beating of a woman on a New Delhi bus, a crime that horrified Indians and galvanized many to protest against the treatment of women here. Four other men and a juvenile remain on trial for the attack.
Officials from the jail officially informed the court Tuesday that Singh committed suicide, according to A.P. Singh, a defense lawyer in the case. The jail was expected to file a more detailed report to the court Thursday, he said.
The defense lawyers also asked the court to move their clients to more secure cells, away from hardened criminals; jail officials said the men were getting proper security, the lawyer said.
Journalists outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Tuesday afternoon saw Singh's body loaded onto an ambulance and taken away accompanied by his family.
Vimla Mehra, the director general of the jail, declined to say how Ram Singh could have managed to kill himself without alerting the other inmates in his small cell or the guards.
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