In an alleged fit of vigilante justice, one of the suspects in the India gang-rape case has been severely beaten in jail by his fellow inmates, his lawyer told reporters, to the point that the man could barely stand up in court.
According to a statement by defense attorney A.P. Singh, his client, Vinay Sharma, was visibly injured during a court appearance on Thursday.
"Vinay Sharma was badly tortured in jail by other inmates who pounced on him. He was not in a position to stand up in court because he was in great pain," Singh said via AFP. "It is sad the jail authorities cannot provide security to them."
Sharma, a 21-year-old gym instructor, is one of six men, including a 17-year-old minor, accused of raping a 23-year-old woman on a Delhi bus in December. The case has spurred protests and debate across India as the country confronts its ongoing issues with sexual assault and mistreatment of women.
Last week, Manohar Lal Sharma, another lawyer for the defense, accused the police of torturing one of the suspects in order to coerce a confession, the Times of India notes. Sharma also made headlines when he placed some of the blame for the attack on the late victim, telling Bloomberg News that he had never heard of a "respectable lady" being raped in India.
The BBC reports the trial is set to begin Monday, as the government has expedited the case through a fast-track process to avoid the potential delays that often hamper legal proceedings in India.
The defense fears that intense media scrutiny will preclude a fair trial, despite the court's gag order banning journalists from reporting on the proceedings.
"We are sure we will not get justice in Delhi," attorney V.K. Ananad said.