Yangon — The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) has publicly executed a man for raping and killing a six-year-old girl.
The SSPP is one of at least 21 ethnicity-based armed groups in Myanmar fighting for equality and self-determination. The armed group is still in the process of negotiating with the central government to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
Ethnic groups control governance and judicial processes in their territories.
“He confessed and there was evidence against him. We delivered the verdict at the trial in front of community leaders and observers. We gave the sentence to protect the rule of law and as a deterrent,” said Sai U Hein, a legal officer at the SSPP’s central court.
The six-year-old from Wan Nwat village in Hsipaw Township was raped and killed by a 30-year-old from the same village on Dec. 9, the court heard. The perpetrator then disposed of the body.
He was arrested by the SSPP the following day and handed the death sentence on Tuesday.
“This is the first child rape case [in our territory] and the first death sentence given for child rape. Under the Penal Code applied by [Myanmar’s] government, life sentences are given for rape and murder. Our citizens were deeply shocked by the crime. We give the death sentence in cases that disrupt community peace and tranquility,” said Sai U Hein.
Hsipaw Township state parliamentarian Nan San San Aye said: “We cannot intervene in the verdict. As the victim is a child, harsh action must be taken as a deterrent.”
It is uncommon for ethnic armed groups to publicly announce trials and death sentences. However, the SSPP released a statement about the execution.
Myanmar amended Article 376 of the Penal Code in March last year, increasing the prison sentence for the rape of under-12s and disabled women to at least 20 years.
Civil society organizations and the public have frequently called for death sentences for child rapists. A proposal submitted to the Union Parliament to allow the execution of child rapists was rejected.
No death sentence has been carried out in Myanmar since 1988, although it remains on the statute books.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.
You may also like these stories: