YANGON — Police have downgraded a charge and released a couple on bail who abused a 13-year-old domestic worker in Yangon’s Yuzana Housing, angering the complainant and local residents.
Police arrested the pair, Htun Htun, 33, and his wife Myat Noe Thu, living in Yangon’s Dagon Seikkan Township on June 3. The following day, block administrator U Myo Tint Naing filed a lawsuit against the two at the township police station under sections 325 and 326 of Myanmar’s Penal Code for causing grievous hurt to the girl.
“Police changed the charge from section 326 to 324, and granted them bail,” U Myo Tint Naing said.
The charge was altered from “voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means” to “voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means.”
“This is upsetting. The girl was severely hurt, but police changed the charge to slightly hurt,” U Myo Tint Naing told The Irrawaddy.
“I want them to change it back to section 326 because I’m concerned that more children will be abused if this stands. If people see that a light punishment is given for such a serious crime, they won’t be reluctant to do the same thing,” he said.
The girl suffered burns to her chest, back, arms and left thigh, as well as bruises to her head and left leg, according to a statement from the Yangon Region Police Force.
Police arrested the couple on June 3 and remanded them in custody on June 5. The two were brought to court on July 3 and received bail after police lowered the charges. Local residents and the complainant were dissatisfied with the decision and asked divisional lawmaker U Nyi Nyi of North Dagon Township to intervene on Tuesday.
“I will present the case to the concerned authorities to get justice for the girl. Seeing her injuries, and thinking what if she were my daughter, makes me upset,” the lawmaker told The Irrawaddy.
He said he would submit a report to the divisional social affairs minister, divisional parliamentary speaker, and chairman of the social affairs and management committee of the divisional parliament about the case.
The girl was brought from a village in Irrawaddy Division’s Thabaung Township and had only worked for 27 days at the couple’s house. She had to receive treatment at a hospital until June 16. The social welfare department is arranging for her to go to school.
The Irrawaddy was unable to obtain a comment from Dagon Seikkan Township Police.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.