Burma

Mother of Abused Toddler Calls Teacher a Suspect

By Moe Moe 25 July 2019

NAYPYITAW—The mother of a 3-year-old toddler sexually abused at her nursery school in Naypyitaw asked the court on Wednesday to treat one of the school’s teachers as a suspect.

The girl, 2 years and 11 months old at the time of crime, is alleged to have been sexually assaulted at the Wisdom Hill private school in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township on May 16.

At the second court hearing on Wednesday, the mother asked the court to treat Daw Hnin Nu, the victim’s classroom teacher, as a suspect and not just an important witness, claiming that the teacher had given inconsistent accounts of what had happened.

The teacher is one of the prosecution’s 26 witnesses. She denied having any knowledge about the rape in media interviews.

“The court is only responsible for administering justice. We don’t do investigations. We will only proceed according to procedure,” the judge replied.

“The victim said that teacher Hnin Nu knew about [the sexual assault], that she scolded Ko Ko [a general term used by girls to address older boys] and that she helped wash [the victim’s genitals]. To be exact, the victim testified this four times, so the aggrieved party asked the court to treat Hnin Nu as a suspect, because she concealed information,” prosecutor Daw Ywet Nu Aung told The Irrawaddy.

Prosecution lawyers also asked the court to allow them to see the nursery school where the sexual assault allegedly happened.

The Social Welfare Department has shut down 15 nurseries across Naypyitaw that were operating without proper licenses, including Wisdom Hill.

U Khin Maung Zaw, the lawyer representing defendant Ko Aung Kyaw Myo, said he agreed to the prosecuting lawyer’s request to see the nursery school.

Ko Aung Kyaw Myo, a.k.a. Aung Gyi, the school supervisor’s 29-year-old driver, had initially been arrested and released in June with insufficient evidence to charge him, but he was arrested again in early July and charged with rape. Many believe he is being scapegoated.

The victim’s mother gave the sole testimony on Wednesday, with a state prosecutor and the prosecuting lawyer questioning her. The court session ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with just a 30-minute break.

The next court hearing is Aug. 1.

Two judges—the Dekkhinathiri Township court judge and his deputy—sat at the court hearing on Wednesday. Because the case has attracted national attention, the court was packed with journalists and interested members of the public.

Daw Yee, the defendant’s mother, told reporters outside the courtroom that her son has nothing to do with the sexual assault. Many in the public doubt that the suspect could have committed such a crime on his first day on the job as the school driver.

According to figures from the Home Affairs Ministry, there were 619 rape cases nationwide between January and June and, shockingly, victims were children in as many as 419 cases, or 67.68 percent.

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