Skip to main content

5 men confess to gang-raping Swiss tourist in India

By Sumnima Udas, CNN
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Sun March 17, 2013
An Indian security official looks over the site that a Swiss woman was raped the night before near Gwalior on March 16, 2013.
An Indian security official looks over the site that a Swiss woman was raped the night before near Gwalior on March 16, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Confessions to police are not admissible in court
  • The victim and her husband were camping
  • 20 people have been detained for questioning

New Delhi (CNN) -- Five men have confessed to gang-raping a Swiss tourist in central India, authorities said Sunday.

Confessions in police custody are not admissible in court, however, and can be retracted.

The woman was camping near a forest in India's Datia district with her husband when a group of men beat the husband and raped her, the district's deputy superintendent of police, R.S. Prajapati, said.

Opinion: End global rape culture

There were between five and seven attackers, he said.

Fighting rape in India's old-boys club
CNN rides along with Delhi police
Lakshmi: Problem goes beyond gang rape

The couple arrived in Mumbai on February 3 and were on a cycling tour across the country, said D.K. Arya, deputy inspector general of police.

The attackers stole a laptop, 10,000 rupees (US $185) and a mobile phone, he said. The victims went to police and the woman was hospitalized and later released.

Twenty people have been detained for questioning, Arya said.

How it feels to be a woman in India

The couple is staying at a guesthouse in the Datia district while the investigation unfolds, he said.

The Swiss ambassador to India, Linus von Castelmur, has spoken with the couple and offered any support they will need.

"Their health and treatment is the priority of the moment," the ambassador said in a statement. "The embassy has also been in touch with the local authorities and has requested for swift investigation and for justice to be done."

The attack comes at a time in India when there are calls for stricter laws on sexual assault and changes in cultural attitudes toward women.

In December a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on a New Dehli bus, spurring protests in India, where most women have stories of sexual harassment and abuse on public transportation or on the streets, according to the Indian Council on Global Relations. That woman later died in a Singapore hospital.

A panel appointed by India's home affairs minister as a result of the case criticized Indian attitudes toward sexual assault and called for policy changes, including creating an offense of gang-rape punishable by at least 20 years in prison, making it a crime for police to fail to investigate sexual assault complaints and making it illegal to consider character or previous sexual experience of the victim at a criminal trial.

Challenges of being a woman in India

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would undoubtedly be "complicated." Can the U.S. Secretary of State's visit change that?
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
updated 7:08 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT