March 11, 2013

Police: Delhi gang rape suspect kills self in jail

Ravi Nessman / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Vivek Sharma, a lawyer representing another defendant, said he planned to ask the court to provide greater protection for his client.

"In a high-security jail, an occurrence of this kind is highly condemnable. It raises the serious issue of security of the accused persons in the jail," he said.

"My clients don't feel safe in Tihar jail," said another defense lawyer, A.P. Singh.

K.T.S. Tulsi, a former top lawyer in the office of the solicitor general of India, said the suicide should have no impact on the trial, which is being held in a closed courtroom under a gag order that prevents news organizations from publishing details of the proceedings.

He said the death highlighted how important it is for society not to demonize people who have been accused but not convicted of crimes.

"It is so unfortunate that the media goes on to presume that they are guilty and goes on to condemn them and demonize them to an extent that it makes the life of these people not worth living," he said.

In 2011, 68 inmates in India killed themselves and another eight were killed by fellow inmates, according to India's National Crime Records Bureau.

Tihar Jail is badly overcrowded with nearly twice as many prisoners as it was designed to hold. Jail authorities have been working to soften its reputation in part by selling TJ's cookies baked by the inmates to the public.

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