"They were beaten most brutally… They were forced to drink urine from the toilet. They were sexually assaulted with sticks in their backside. Whatever statements they made were made under duress and are worthless," Mohan Lal Sharma, who represents three of the six accused told the Guardian.
The minor accused in the case, placed in a juvenile correction home, was also reportedly assaulted by the inmates, who were outraged by the reports of brutality he had unleashed on the rape-victim.
Sharma said the confessions by his clients were made under duress and they will be challenged in the court. He said his clients are innocent and will plead not guilty.
Two other accused reportedly offered to be state witnesses; however, the prosecution said they don’t need state witness in the case as there is sufficient evidence to convict the accused.
The five accused face maximum punishment of death sentence if the allegations are proved.
The sixth accused, who is believed to be a minor, will face separate trial if his minor status is proved.
The lawyer’s claim would complicate the trial as the accused had no legal aid during their interrogation, as the lawyers in Delhi refused to represent the accused who are charged with horrific gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus Dec.16.
The rape and the subsequent death of the girl had sparked massive protests against such crimes and the strong public sentiment against the accused reflected in the lawyers’ decision not to represent the accused. Sharma later came forward voluntarily to represent the accused saying that denying them legal aid is against law and fair trial.
The five suspects appeared in court in Delhi for a second time Thursday, amidst high security for an in-camera trail. The case was adjourned to Monday, while no decision was taken on shifting the case to a fast-track trial, Rediff News has reported.
Minor Accused Undergoes Quiet Appendicitis Surgery
Meanwhile, the juvenile accused arrested in the case was admitted to a hospital Saturday, after he complained of severe stomach pain.
He was detected with acute appendicitis and had to undergo a surgery. Currently, he is recovering. However, initially, the doctors had no idea that their patient was the ‘minor’ in the Delhi gang-rape case.
“We had no idea who he was. We don’t ask the police for their criminal history. He was just another patient brought from the Bal Sudhaar Grih (juvenile correction home) on Monday,” a doctor, who attended on the alleged rapist, told the Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity.
Doctors came to know of his identity when the juvenile court asked for a fitness certificate for the patient to fix dates for his trail.
“There’s always a policeman with him. Fearing for his safety, the hospital is trying to keep his identity under wraps, but he’s already becoming a minor celebrity. Everyone wants to see what a fiend looks like,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.