Myanmar Court Frees Defendant in Toddler Rape Case for Lack of Evidence

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 18 December 2019

YANGON – Napyitaw’s Dekkina Thiri District Court on Wednesday acquitted Aung Gyi, who was controversially accused of being the perpetrator in the closely watched toddler rape case, for lack of evidence.

Aung Gyi (aka Aung Kyaw Myo), 29, who worked as the driver for the supervisor of Wisdom Hill private nursery school, was charged in July with raping a girl, then 2, on the school grounds in May.

It is the second time he has been released by the court on grounds of insufficient evidence.

”I wasn’t expecting to be freed. I am so pleased to be exonerated. May the truth in the rape case emerge for the sake of the girl,” Aung Gyi told reporters on Wednesday after he was released from custody.

Daw Sudarli Aung, a lawyer representing Aung Gyi, told reporters that her client was acquitted because no one—including the victim and teachers at the nursery school—had ever implicated him in the case.

On Wednesday, the District Court heard from 19 witnesses including three teachers and a team of technicians who inspected the hard drive of the school’s CCTV system.

The court found that the hard drive had been tampered with in an effort to hide the truth, said lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw, who also represents Aung Gyi.

He told reporters that Aung Gyi’s legal team would sue those who tampered with the hard drive under Section 201 of the Penal Code, which makes it a crime to withhold evidence of an offense.

After police received a complaint alleging that the girl had been sexually assaulted, they arrested Aung Gyi, who worked as a driver for the school’s supervisor. He was released by the court in June for lack of evidence, but police detained him again in July, saying he was the only male who entered the nursery school on the day of the crime, adding that a test had found semen on his underwear.

In September, Myanmar’s deputy police chief, who made the controversial allegations against Aung Gyi, was widely reported to have resigned his post, though officials denied the claims.

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