Raped Toddler’s Parents Prepare to Sue Myanmar Police for Naming Victim
By Htet Naing Zaw 20 December 2019
Naypyitaw – The parents of the raped toddler at a private Naypyitaw nursery school will file a lawsuit against the police for revealing the identities of the girl and her relatives.
At a live-streamed press conference, the head of the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Brigadier-General Soe Naing Oo, and Police Colonel Min Han revealed the identity of the victim.
The police later posted on their “Ye Zarni” Facebook page the handwritten complaint filed by the parents. The complaint states the names of the victim and her parents, as well as their address and occupations.
The 3-year-old was allegedly sexually assaulted at the Wisdom Hill nursery school in Zabuthiri Township on May 16. She was 2 at the time.
Media groups and social-media campaigners have only referred to her as “Victoria” during the case.
“Those who have to enforce the law have broken the law. We will respond in line with the law. We will file a lawsuit,” said Victoria’s father.
“This is a threat to us; not just us, but the whole country. They have given the message that we will have to suffer if we don’t do as they say. Whatever happens, we won’t stop fighting for the truth,” he added.
Naypyitaw-based lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw said a lawsuit can be filed under Article 96(d) of the Child Rights Law against the three police commanders who held the press conference and those who uploaded the feed to Facebook.
The law bars the identification of a minor involved in a legal case. A violation carries a threat of between four months and a year in prison and a fine of 400,000 kyats (US$266) to 600,000 kyats.
Anyone can file a complaint under the Child Rights Law, said U Khin Maung Zaw.
Revealing the girl’s identity suggested that the police did not even understand basic ethics, said well-known author Ma Thida (Sanchaung).
“Those who held the press conference are high-ranking officers. They are the ones who have to guide the other staff. But if they themselves have such a mentality, this indicates that the entire institution is locked in. They have neither the will nor capacity to struggle out of it. And conditions are not favorable for them to change,” she said.
After harsh public criticism, the posts, including the video, were removed from Facebook within hours.
The police used the press conference to criticize the court’s decision to dismiss charges against Ko Aung Gyi, the driver for the nursery school’s supervisor. Ko Aung Gyi was accused of sexually assaulting the girl.
They said the court’s decision to release him was premature as the investigation remained incomplete.
The police said they held the press conference out of their dissatisfaction with the court’s decision but the officers did not give clear answers to reporters.
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