SITTWE — Myanmar’s military has sentenced three soldiers who raped a Rakhine woman in Rathedaung Township in late June to 20 years in prison.
“The court-martial sentenced the three to 20 years in prison with hard labor. They were then sent to Sittwe Prison,” said Daw Nyo Aye, chairwoman of Rakhine Women’s Network, who attended the trial on Friday.
The three privates, who confessed to committing rape, were prosecuted under the 1959 Defence Services Act and Articles 366, 376 and 144 of the Penal Code on Dec. 3.
The 37-year-old from Uga village filed a complaint with Sittwe police on July 10, reporting she was raped by the three at gunpoint. The police opened cases for rape, abduction with the intent to rape and aiding and abetting rape.
“I am satisfied with the verdict. The court-martial has made the fair verdict,” said the victim.
According to Uga villagers, troops arrived at around 6pm on June 29 and stayed overnight. When the soldiers arrived, male villagers fled, fearing that they might be arrested on suspicion of having ties to the Arakan Army, which is fighting the military in northern Rakhine.
The victim said she was summoned by the three soldiers for interrogation and then raped at gunpoint.
A military statement on July 2 denied the accusations of rape, however, the armed forces conducted an internal investigation into the allegation after the case came under the spotlight. Then one of the three soldiers confessed.
Over 120 organizations in Rakhine State issued a joint statement on July 27 denouncing sexual violence against women during armed conflict and asking the authorities to protect women.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko
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