YANGON — The Association for the Protection of Myanmar Women called for the death sentence for rapists during a protest outside the North Dagon Township Court on Thursday.
The group timed the protest to coincide with an appearance at the court by Myo Zaw Oo, 27, a taxi driver accused of raping and murdering Ma Shwe Yi Win in Yangon on the night of Jan. 20.
About 15 women joined the protest, holding up vinyl placards reading “Death sentence for rapists,” “Eliminate rapists to protect the lives of women” and “Take effective action against rape.”
“Today we officially call for the death sentence for rapists. Even amid our entreaties, more and more rape cases are being reported. This shows that current punishments are not enough to prevent rape. Therefore, we are speeding up our movement to call for the death sentence for rapists,” said Daw Tin Swe Myint, information officer for the association.
Protesters and reporters gathered at the court to await the arrival of Myo Zaw Oo on Thursday, but authorities had ushered him in secretly earlier that morning, according to police.
Myo Zaw Oo was charged under sections 302 (murder), 392 (robbery) and 377 (unnatural offenses) of the Penal Code. The first hearing in the trial is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Yangon East District Court.
The Association for the Protection of Myanmar Women was founded on Jan. 24 and has launched a Facebook page, “Movement calling for the death sentence for rapists,” with the aim of preventing rape.
The association hopes to meet with administrative, legislative and judicial officials to discuss effective measures to achieve its goal.
Soon after the rape and murder of Ma Shwe Yi Win, a 4-year-old girl was attacked and raped beneath the Panhlaing railway overpass in Yangon.
In 2017 Yangon Region recorded 270 rape cases and the highest number of juvenile rapes in the country, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Translated from Burmese by Myint Win Thein.