Burma

Myanmar Court Considers Bail for Defendant in Toddler Rape Case

By Moe Moe 24 September 2019

NAYPYITAW—Naypyitaw’s Dekkhina Thiri District Court has agreed to consider a bail request from Aung Gyi, the defendant in a high-profile toddler rape case, according to his lawyer.

At its seventh hearing in the case on Tuesday, the court agreed to review the request.

U Khin Maung Zaw, the advocate for the accused, said he submitted the bail request and the court will decide whether to free Aung Gyi on bail at its next hearing on Oct. 9.

On Tuesday, the court heard from two witnesses including a 100-household administrator from Naypyitaw’s Tha Pyay Kone quarter. U Khin Maung Zaw said the witnesses’ testimony was “sufficient” to prove his client’s innocence.

A complaint was filed on May 17 against Aung Gyi (aka Aung Kyaw Myo), who worked as the driver for the supervisor of Naypyitaw’s Wisdom Hill nursery school, over the sexual assault of a girl attending the school. The toddler, dubbed “Victoria” by the media, was 2 years old at the time of the crime. Aung Gyi was charged under Article 376 of the Penal Code on July 4.

The victim, her parents and her grandmother all testified at previous hearings in the case. Two of the school’s other drivers are scheduled to testify at the next hearing on Oct. 9.

U Aung Soe, a lawyer who has been observing the case, said, “Today [Tuesday], witnesses testified that the investigation of Aung Gyi did not immediately follow the reporting of the crime. From my experience, Aung Gyi could be granted bail.”

U Mya Thein, the father of the accused, expressed hope that his son would be granted bail. “As my son did not commit this crime, I am hoping that he will be released,” he told reporters after the court hearing.

U Khin Maung Zaw, the defendant’s lawyer, said he would try his best to clear his client of the accusation, and vowed to find the real culprits.

Victoria’s case has sparked widespread condemnation in Myanmar. Protests have been held calling for justice for the girl, and for greater attention to be paid to the issue of sexual assault against young girls.

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