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6 arraigned in rape of Swiss tourist

NEW DELHI — Six men accused of raping a Swiss tourist who was cycling with her husband in central India were produced in court Monday and charged with the crime.

The suspects appeared in the magistrate’s court in Madhya Pradesh state with their faces covered with black cloth, police superintendent Chandra Shekhar Solanki said.

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It was not clear how they pleaded in court, but during their arrest Sunday they confessed, police said. The men, who are poor farmers from nearby villages, also face additional charges of robbing the Swiss couple.

The attack, which occurred Friday night as the couple camped in a forest in Datia district, came three months after the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus, which spurred outrage over the treatment of women in Indian society and the country’s justice system.

The Swiss couple told police that the woman had been raped by seven or eight men, but that it was dark and they could not be sure of the exact number.

The men beat up the husband and tied him to a tree before raping the woman, police said. They also stole the couple’s cellphone, laptop computer, and $185. Police said they recovered the laptop and phone from one of the suspects.

The Swiss tourists were on a three-month India vacation and had visited the temple town of Orchha. They were planning to cycle to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, about 130 miles away.

They set out from Orchha on Friday and pitched their tent in the forest near Jatia village, when they were attacked by men armed with sticks, police said.

On Monday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported that the 39-year-old woman said she will stay in India to help the investigation.

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