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Court halts trial of alleged Delhi rapist

Lawyer claims suspect's prison food was poisoned

Swati Deb, New Delhi
India

May 24, 2013

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A special court trying the men accused of the rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi last December, has postponed proceedings against one of the accused because he is seriously sick with a mystery illness, his lawyer said yesterday.

Vinay Sharma is in a serious condition in hospital, lawyer A.P. Singh told ucanews.com.

"He was supposed to have been brought before the court today, but was unable to attend. His condition is not good," Singh said yesterday.

"They are not giving many details on Sharma’s condition and what is really wrong with him," he said, referring to hospital and jail authorities.

The hearing yesterday was adjourned after Singh asked the court not to proceed without his client being present.

Sharma has not attended court proceedings since May 8 due to ill health. He was admitted to hospital on May 14.

Singh claims Sharma’s prison food had been poisoned over several weeks. Prison authorities have dismissed the claim as mere "rumor," saying Sharma is only suffering from a fever.

Officials at the government-run hospital where Sharma is being held have declined to give details on his health.

"We can’t comment on the case or his condition. Jail authorities have been asked by the court to submit a detailed report," a hospital source said.

Sharma’s medical problems began on April 4 after his hand was broke as a result of an attack on him inside the jail, Singh said.

Sharma is among six people, including a juvenile, now facing charges of gang-raping a 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in New Delhi on Dec 16 last year. She died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital on Dec 29.

The man police considered the ringleader, Ram Singh, hanged himself in prison on March 11.

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