Burma

Lawyer for Accused in Myanmar Toddler Rape Says She’s Being Followed

By Moe Moe 26 September 2019

NAYPYITAW—The defense lawyer in the widely watched toddler rape case in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, said she has been shadowed for several weeks, since the second hearing in the ongoing trial.

The court hearings started in August. Daw Su Darli Aung said she saw two motorbikes tailing her after the second court hearing and two days later a car followed her.

“This all happened after I started to act as defense lawyer,” she told reporters.

Daw Su Darli Aung, who is representing Aung Gyi, who was employed as a driver at the school attended by the victim, said she had been asked to not get involved in the case. She declined to give details.

Daw Ohnmar Hlaing, supervisor of the Wisdom Hill nursery school, filed a lawsuit at Naypyitaw’s Pobbathiri Township Court against Daw Su Darli Aung under the Child Rights Law.

The lawsuit was filed in response to Daw Su Darli Aung’s interview with the media about the court hearing on Aug. 14. The lawyer said she just repeated the testimony of the victim’s father.

On Aug. 14, the lawyer said the father had submitted a video in which his daughter pointed to the pictures of two teenage 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 Aung Gyi, the driver at the school.

“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.

“I just repeated the testimony of the victim’s father at the court. I have submitted the copy of his testimony to the court,” said Daw Su Darli Aung.

The Pobbathiri Township Court on Wednesday accepted the lawsuit and granted her bail for 10 million kyats (US$6,534).

Over 30 lawyers were present at the court to show their support for Daw Su Darli Aung.

She told reporters she will face the lawsuit and continue to defend Aung Gyi.

Several lawyers have given interviews concerning the rape case and only the plaintiff will know why she chose to open a lawsuit against her, said Daw Su Darli Aung.

“In my entire life as a lawyer, I haven’t seen a lawsuit being filed in response to court testimony. After examining the witnesses for the two sides, the court will decide if [Daw Su Darli Aung] violated the Child Rights Law,” chairman of the Myanmar Independent Lawyers Association in Naypyitaw U Aye Myint told the reporters.

Daw Su Darli Aung faces a sentence of four months to one year in prison if convicted.

A complaint alleging 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.

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