Myanmar ‘Toddler Rape’ Lawyer Bullish Over Lawsuit

By Moe Moe 25 October 2019

NAYPYITAW – Lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw, who is acting for the accused in a widely watched toddler rape case in Naypyitaw, said he was sued because of his commitment to holding the “real perpetrators” to account.

The victim, aged 2 at the time, was sexually assaulted at Wisdom Hill private school in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township in May. Her mother filed a complaint with the police.

Police named Aung Gyi as a suspect and filed a rape charge against him. Many members of the public expressed doubts about his guilt, as it was his first day in the job as a driver for the school supervisor.

Following the crime, speculation surfaced on social media that the two teenage sons of Daw Ohmar Hlaing, the supervisor at the nursery school, were responsible for the sexual assault, saying Aung Gyi was a scapegoat.

On Sept. 26, Daw Ohmar Hlaing filed complaints against six people involved with the case—the victim’s father, his brother and sister, prosecution lawyer Daw Ywet Nu Aung, defense lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw and Dr. Win Ko Ko Thein, who is helping the victim’s family in their lawsuit—under Article 101 of the Child Rights Law.

The article bars identifying and obtaining information about a minor accused of a crime or involved as a witness.

“These [lawsuits] happened because I just don’t act as a lawyer, but have also taken responsibility to reveal the truth. I will find out as much as I can about who the perpetrator is, why Ko Aung Gyi is being scapegoated and who is responsible. I will find out these three things,” defense lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw told reporters.

Daw Ohmar Hlaing filed the six complaints in response to the interviews given to the media as the comments had negatively impacted upon her children.

In their interviews, the six talked about the evidence submitted to the court, including a video and the testimony of the victim, that appeared to implicate the two brothers.

U Khin Maung Zaw dismisses the complaint, saying their interviews did not violate the Child Rights Law.

“If somebody files a complaint with us, we have to open the case. It depends on the legal advice about whether the case will be brought to court,” said a police officer in Patta, where Daw Ohmar Hlaing filed the six complaints.

“I was sued regarding what I wrote on Facebook about the two brothers after the fourth trial hearing,” Dr. Win Ko Ko Thein told The Irrawaddy.

“The victim’s father was sued for submitting ‘fabricated evidence’. And I think his sister and brother were sued because they asked the victim [about the two brothers] in the video. They have done nothing else,” he added.

Daw Ohmar Hlaing also filed a lawsuit against Aung Gyi’s other lawyer, Daw Su Darli Aung, under the Child Rights Law over her interviews with the media.

Pobbathiri Township Court accepted the lawsuit and granted her bail of 10 million kyats (US$6,534).

Daw Ohmar Hlaing has told reporters that her sons were wrongly accused and she will seek justice for them.

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