India gang-rape suspect found dead in his cell

New Delhi, Mar 11 (EFE).- The accused ringleader in the brutal gang-rape of a young woman who later died was found dead on Monday, hanging from the ceiling of his cell, Indian authorities said.

The apparent suicide of Ram Singh occurred at 5:00 a.m. at New Delhi's Tihar prison.

Singh was found hanging in his cell by one of the guards, who was going to wake him up so he could later be taken to court for a hearing in the rape case.

The suspect had two cellmates, and guards had been keeping a eye on him "due to his behavior," which showed him capable of committing suicide, a source told the PTI news agency.

The inmate used his own clothes as a noose to hang himself, sources said.

Singh's lawyer, V.K. Anand, said he is not at all sure that this was a suicide and said on television that his client was pleased with the way his trial was going and had no reason to kill himself.

Authorities pointed to Singh as the ringleader of a group that on Dec. 16 raped and tortured a 23-year-old student for 40 minutes on a bus in New Delhi. She died days later from her grave injuries.

The case sparked a wave of indignation across India, where daily protests demanded greater security for women and the death penalty for the accused, who are being tried by a special fast-track tribunal.

Singh's five adult co-defendants are also being held at Tihar, while an underage suspect in the crime faces prosecution in the juvenile courts.