Burma

Myanmar Court to Announce Bail Decision in Toddler Rape Case in Two Weeks

By Moe Moe & Zarni Mann 10 October 2019

NAYPYITAW—Naypyitaw’s Dekkhina Thiri District Court is due to announce its decision on whether to grant bail for Aung Gyi, the defendant in a high-profile toddler rape case, on Oct. 23.

The bail request was submitted on Sept. 24 to the court, which heard the bail motion from defense lawyers on Wednesday.

“I put it to the court that Aung Gyi should be bailed out in accordance with the law. However, the legal adviser opposed my motion. We will know the result on Oct. 23,” U Khin Maung Zaw, an advocate for the accused, told journalists after the court session.

The lawyer said he believed his client would be bailed out soon, because the victim told the court she didn’t know Aung Gyi. Moreover, the lawyer said, testimony from witnesses for the plaintiff in previous court sessions had failed to show that Aung Gyi was the offender.

On the other hand, the legal adviser to the court said during Wednesday’s court session that the court should not grant bail, given the high-profile nature of the case, and the fact that the offense is non-bailable.

On Wednesday, the court also heard from three plaintiff witnesses—two drivers employed by Wisdom Hill nursery school, where the rape allegedly took place, and the husband of the school’s supervisor.

At the ninth session of the trial scheduled for Oct. 23, the court will also hear from two teachers and the technician responsible for operating the CCTV system at Wisdom Hill nursery school.

Aung Gyi (aka Aung Kyaw Myo) worked as a driver for the supervisor of the nursery school. A complaint was filed against him on May 17, alleging that he sexually assaulted a girl attending the school.

The toddler, dubbed “Victoria” by the media, was 2 years and 11 months old at the time of the crime. Aung Gyi was charged under Article 376 of the Penal Code on July 4.

Victoria’s case sparked widespread condemnation countrywide and the case has been followed closely by the public. Many believe Aung Gyi is a scapegoat and the actual culprits are still at large.

Protests have been held in big cities including Yangon, Mandalay and Monywa calling for justice for the toddler, and for greater attention to be paid to the issue of sexual assault against young girls.

Meanwhile, Daw Ohnmar Hlaing, the supervisor of the school, has sued Aung Gyi’s lawyer, as well as the victim’s lawyer, father and other family members, for implicating her two teenage sons in the case.

They are being sued under the Child Rights Law, and face four months to one year in prison if convicted.

Lawyers for Daw Su Darli Aung, the lawyer for Aung Gyi, said on Monday they plan to countersue Daw Ohnmar Hlaing under the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens.

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