MANDALAY — About 1,500 residents of Mandalay Region’s Maddaya Township took to the streets on Sunday to demand the death penalty for the suspect in the Feb. 13 rape and murder of a two-year-old girl.
Ko Phyo Htet Aung, 23, a neighbor of the girl, Ma Sanyadi Myint, was arrested the day she was attacked.
“We want the culprit, and anyone who rapes and murders minors, to receive the death sentence and be executed in front of the public,” said the girl’s grandmother, Daw San San Maw.
The girl’s parents left her at the grandmother’s house on Feb. 13 while they went out to collect firewood but found her missing when they returned. The girl was found later that day unconscious in a banana plantation on the outskirts of the village after she had been raped.
“We found the culprit had just run away, so I ran after him and punched him and he was arrested with the help of the other villagers. Then we handed him over to the police,” U Hlaing Zin Myo, the girl’s father, told The Irrawaddy.
The parents rushed their daughter to the general hospital in Maddaya, where she died.
“We want him to be executed in front of us,” the father said. “I want to kill him with my own hands and I want him to suffer the way my daughter did.
“We do not want other families to suffer like us…. We want rapists who admit to this kind of violence to be seriously punished.”
Police say Ko Phyo Htet Aung has been charged with rape and murder and that he was being detained at the main prison in the state capital Mandalay.
Authorities in Mandalay recorded two other rapes of children under 5 this month.
According the figures released by the Ministry of Home Affairs last week, 200 more rape cases of children under 16 were recorded across the country in 2017 than the year before.
During Sunday’s protest in Maddaya, some 1,200 people signed a petition they intend to submit to the union Parliament calling for the death sentence for rapists.
Daw Kin Saw Wai, a Lower House lawmaker from Rakhine State, made the same proposal during a session of Parliament earlier this month.