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6 men convicted of raping Swiss tourist in India

By Harmeet Shah Singh and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 11:14 AM EDT, Sun July 21, 2013
An Indian activist gets his head shaven in protest against the Dehli gang-rape in New Delhi on Friday, January 4. A gang of men is accused of repeatedly raping a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi. Police formally charged the five suspects with rape, kidnapping and murder after the woman died. An Indian activist gets his head shaven in protest against the Dehli gang-rape in New Delhi on Friday, January 4. A gang of men is accused of repeatedly raping a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi. Police formally charged the five suspects with rape, kidnapping and murder after the woman died.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • India is grappling with how to better protect women and girls from sexual assault
  • The victim and her husband were on a cycling tour across India
  • The court sentenced the men to life in prison
  • They were members of a local tribe near where the travelers were camping

(CNN) -- As India grapples with how to better protect women and girls from sexual assault, a court over the weekend convicted six men in the gang rape of a Swiss tourist.

The court in the province of Datia sentenced them to life in prison on Saturday for the March rape and robbery, public prosecutor Rajendra Iwari said.

The men have denied the charges and may appeal.

The victim and her husband were on a cycling tour across India and had set up camp near a forest in Datia district when a group of men assaulted them, beating the husband and raping the wife, according to police.

Anger, frustration over rapes in India: 'Mindset hasn't changed'

The men were members of a local tribe who live near where the travelers were camping.

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Investigators recovered valuables stolen from the couple during the attack, including a laptop computer, a mobile phone and 10,000 rupees ($185).

The couple decided to stay in India to pursue charges against the men.

Keeping chivalry alive in India: Men respond to rape crisis

News of the incident triggered protests organized by opposition lawmakers in India's Madhya Pradesh state.

They called on the state's home minister to resign due to an alleged "collapse of law and order," as Ajay Singh, an opposition leader, put it at the time.

India's intense public dialogue on rape began in December, after the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in a bus in New Delhi. The student died in a Singapore hospital.

WHO: 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence

Her case focused the nation's attention and anger on sex crimes. An outcry quickly grew over reportedly widespread harassment of women in public.

Demonstrators took to the streets to call for stricter laws on sexual assault and changes in cultural attitudes toward women.

Subsequent sex abuse cases have triggered public outrage, including the rapes of young children in April and May and the alleged rape of an American tourist in June.

Norwegian woman: I was raped in Dubai, now I face prison sentence

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