An Indian court on Saturday handed down life sentences against the six men accused of gang-raping a Swiss tourist on March 16 in central India, local media said.

Those accused of taking part in the rape, between ages 20-30, were convicted by a court in Datia in the state of Madhya Pradesh, with the sentence announced by the court's judge, Kumar Sharma.

The prosecutor who took part in the trial, Rajendra Tiwari, said he was "satisfied" with the life sentences, the maximum penalty for sex crimes according to a law passed in March by the Indian Parliament.

The judge imposed the maximum penalty on the six convicts even though they were not submitted to a police lineup, since the rape took place at night and the woman did not see the faces of her assailants.

The Swiss tourist, 39, was bicycling around India with her husband when they were attacked by several men one night as they were camping. The men gave the husband a beating and raped the woman.

The incident had a particular impact in the media since attacks on foreigners are unusual in the Asian giant.

The sexual abuse of the Swiss tourist is added to the many cases of rape that have been reported in the Indian press since December, when a young 23-year-old woman died after being gang-raped and tortured on a bus in New Delhi.

That crime sparked an unprecedented debate about the condition of women in the Asian country and led Parliament to pass a law in March that toughened sentences for sexual aggressors.

The verdicts against the minor and four of the five adults implicated in the December rape case are expected to be announced at the end of July.

A fifth adult who was among the accused committed suicide in prison last March, authorities said. EFE