Burma

Victim Testifies, Identifies Brothers in Toddler Rape Case

By Moe Moe 11 September 2019

NAYPYITAW—On Wednesday, in the much-watched trial over the case of a toddler’s rape in the Myanmar capital of Naypyitaw, the young victim testified, identifying two brothers as the perpetrators of the sexual assault.

The girl, 2 years and 11 months old at the time of crime, is alleged to have been sexually assaulted at the Wisdom Hill private school in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township on May 16.

“The girl said the younger brother pounded her chest and the bigger brother pinched her vagina, but she didn’t mention Ko Ko and Nyi Nyi [the Burmese terms for elder and younger brothers],” the victim’s lawyer, Daw Ywet Nu Aung, said.

Ko Ko and Nyi Nyi are the sons of a teacher who also works at the school. Much of the public believe the two to be the real perpetrators and Aung Gyi, the school supervisor’s 29-year-old driver that police charged with the rape, to be a scapegoate.

The victim testified via video conference on Wednesday. She was with some friends, her mother and a female law officer in a room decorated like a playground. The judge asked questions through the female law officer, according to lawyers on both sides.

When the girl was shown photos of the defendant, Aung Gyi, she said she did not know him, prosecution lawyer Daw Ywet Nu Aung said.

“Like she did before, she picked the photos of [the brothers] and said they pinched her vagina,” Daw Ywet Nu Aung said, referring to a video file that was submitted to the court as evidence.

In the video, presented to the court at a previous hearing, the victim’s uncle showed her photos of Ma Hnin Nu, a teacher and prosecution witness alleged to have provided cover to Ko Ko and Nyi Nyi, and of Aung Gyi. Asked who’d assaulted her, the girl pointed to the photos of Ko Ko and Nyi Nyi with a pencil and said they did, according to the defense lawyer.

During the video testimony on Wednesday, the girl stomped on the photos of the brothers, and even pointed out where exactly her teacher, Hnin Nu, had washed her after the assault, according to Daw Ywet Nu Aung.

The teacher is one of the prosecution’s 26 witnesses. She denied having any knowledge of the rape in media interviews, but the victim’s mother has previously asked the court to treat the teacher as a suspect and not a witness.

Speculation spread on social media that Hnin Nu had washed the victim’s vagina after the sexual assault in order to destroy any evidence.

Lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw, acting for Aung Gyi, said, “[The girl] said nothing about Ko Aung Gyi when she was shown photos [of him]. She identified [the culprits]. It was compellingly stated, and has been recorded. These are the facts the court has to take into consideration.”

Two staff from the Wisdom Hill private school will testify at the next court hearing.

“The lawyers said the girl does not know Aung Gyi, and she pointed to the two brothers. As a father, I am happy that my son was not responsible for it,” Aung Gyi’s father told The Irrawaddy.

Only the lawyers for each side and defendant Aung Gyi were allowed to enter the courtroom as the victim testified at Wednesday’s court hearing; reporters and the public were barred.

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