Burma

Magwe Child Rapist Sentenced to 20 Years

By Zue Zue 1 August 2019

YANGON—The Minbu District Court in Magwe Region on Tuesday sentenced a school general worker convicted of raping a school girl to 20 years in prison.

“He was [sentenced] a year and a half after the crime occurred,“ said Dr. Ye Htun Zaw, the leader of a local philanthropic group which is helping the victim.

The rape occurred in a basic education high school in Magwe’s Minhla Township.

The victim, an 11-year-old fifth grader at the time, was taken to a vacant classroom during a lunch break in January last year by the school general worker, who lived in the same village as her.

The man, 51 and married, gave her a 1,000-kyat note and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the abuse.

The girl told her mother when she went home, and who filed a complaint with police in Minhla.

Dr. Ye Htun Zaw said he feels like justice delayed is justice denied.

“Twenty years’ jail term is a fitting punishment, but [the trial] took a year and a half, crime to verdict. It is too much for a child,” he said. “She is impacted more and more as time passes without a verdict.”?

The girl is now in the seventh grade.

“Poor families in remote areas are particularly vulnerable to such cases. It is difficult for them to go to court. Slow trials create burdens for them and increase the chance of mental trauma,” Ko Ye Htun Zaw said.

According to statistics from the Home Affairs Ministry, 1,028 child rape cases were reported in 2018, while 419 were reported through June of this year.

Article 376 of the Penal Code mandates a minimum 20-year sentence and a maximum of life for the sexual abuse of children under 12 years of age.

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