Indian police arrest 5 for Swiss tourist gang-rape

NEW DELHI (AP, AFP) - Police in India arrested yesterday five men in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss woman who was on a cycling vacation with her husband along central India's tourist trail.

A police officer in Datia town in Madhya Pradesh state said the men all admitted to the crime. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Police said the 39-year-old woman and her husband were camping out in a forest in Datia when they were attacked by a group of men on Friday evening. They were travelling by bicycle to the city of Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, the renowned 17th century marble mausoleum.

Police said the suspects raped the woman, beat her husband with wooden sticks and stole the couple's money, cellphone and laptop.

Local police official M. S. Dhodee said the men lived in a village near the forested area where the couple were attacked.

"They were passing by, noticed the couple putting up their tent and saw an opportunity to attack and rape the woman," he said.

The woman was treated on Saturday at a hospital in the nearby city of Gwalior and was released later that day.

The attack comes three months after the fatal gang-rape of a woman aboard a New Delhi bus outraged Indians and spurred the government to pass laws to protect women.

After the attack, the rape victim underwent a medical examination at a local hospital before leaving for the Indian capital Delhi, police said.

"The victim and her husband have left for Delhi, since there was no need for her to stay in hospital here," another local police official U.C. Shadangi told AFP.

Mr Shadangi said police were in touch with Swiss embassy officials.

The Swiss Ambassador in India Linus von Castelmur has spoken to the couple and has demanded a swift probe of the incident.