Lawyer for Accused in Myanmar Toddler Rape Faces Action for Media Comments
By Moe Moe 25 September 2019
NAYPYITAW – Wisdom Hill nursery school’s supervisor has filed a lawsuit at Naypyitaw’s Pobbathiri Township Court against the lawyer of Aung Gyi, the defendant in a prominent toddler rape case.
The lawsuit against Daw Su Darli Aung, the lawyer for Aung Gyi (aka Aung Kyaw Myo), who worked as a driver for the supervisor of the school, was initially opened with Patta police on Aug. 31. The lawsuit was filed under the Child Rights Law and the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens.
“The plaintiff filed the complaint under two laws … and our duty is to register and take legal advice. The court will make a decision on whether the accused should be sued,” said Police Sub-Lieutenant Zaw Lin Htet from Patta police, who handled the case.
Daw Su Darli Aung told journalists that she will face the lawsuit.
“It is based on my interview with the media about the court hearing on Aug. 14 in which I repeated the testimony of the victim’s father,” said the lawyer at Pobbathiri Township Court on Wednesday.
On Aug. 14, the lawyer said the father had submitted a video in which his daughter pointed to the pictures of two boys out of five people.
The lawyer said the toddler in the video pointed to the pictures with a pencil and said, “Ko Ko” and “Nyi Nyi”. She said the girl did not recognize a picture of the accused driver, Aung Gyi.
“Ko Ko” and “Nyi Nyi” were references to two teenage sons of the nursery school supervisor, Daw Ohnmar Hlaing, who were being widely accused on social media.
The plaintiff, Daw Ohnmar Hlaing, told the media outside Patta police station that she will reveal the truth in time for the sake of her two sons.
Daw Su Darli Aung told The Irrawaddy that her Aug. 14 comments were the exact words of the father.
“I have the official records and I repeated them to the media. [The father’s testimony] had already been submitted to the court,” she said.
A complaint of sexual assault of the girl, who was almost 3 at the time, was filed by her mother on May 17.
Aung Gyi was arrested, and charged under Article 376 of the Penal Code on July 4.
The alleged abuse of the toddler, named “Victoria” by child-rights activists, was widely criticized across the nation. Many people believe Aung Gyi was a scapegoat and the actual culprit is at large.
On Tuesday, Naypyitaw’s Dekkhina Thiri District Court agreed to consider a bail request from Aung Gyi. His lawyer said the witness testimony was “sufficient” to prove his client’s innocence, and the court will decide whether to free Aung Gyi on bail on Oct. 9.
Protests calling for justice for “Victoria” have demanded action to stop child abuse.
Translation from Burmese and additional reporting by Zarni Mann.