US: Indian student on trial for roommate's suicide
Posted on: 02:48 PM IST Dec 10, 2011
New York: An Indian student at Rutgers University, whose roommate committed suicide after he posted his sexual encounter with another man online, will go on trial next year on hate crime charges after he turned down a plea deal that would have kept him out of jail.
Dharun Ravi, 19, faces a 15-count indictment including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.
Ravi's attorneys told Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman in a New Jersey court that he will face trial rather than accepting charges that he was biased against gay people and invaded privacy.
Ravi's roommate Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington bridge last September after Ravi posted on the internet a video he shot secretly showing Clementi's sexual encounter with another man.
Ravi then joked on his Twitter account that he saw Clementi "making out with a dude."
The suicide caused a nationwide outrage with celebrities raising concerns over cyber-bullying and harassment of gays and lesbians.
The trial is slated to begin on February 21 in New Brunswick, New Jersey and could go on for three weeks. Under the plea deal offered by the Middlesex County prosecutors, Ravi would have had to undergo 600 hours of community service, counseling and dispose of any information he had that could have identified the man Clementi was with.
In return for pleading guilty to one count of bias intimidation and several counts of invasion of privacy, Ravi was also offered by the Prosecutor's office a probationary sentence and help to fight any deportation orders.
Ravi is in the US legally but is an Indian citizen.
Ravi's lawyer Steven Altman said his client is innocent and "that s why he rejected the plea."
A second Rutgers student charged in the case Molly Wei, 19, struck a plea deal with prosecutors under which she has agreed to testify against Ravi at trial.