A man accused of raping and murdering a two-year-old girl has been indicted with charges punishable by the death penalty at the hearing on March 12, sources say.
Phyo Htet Aung, 25, allegedly raped and killed the girl in a banana farm in Mandalay Region on February 13. The girl was just two years and five months old at the time of her death.
The family of the victim and around 20,000 residents of Madaya Township staged a protest on February 18, calling for a death penalty on the accused.
“I want the court to sentence him to death or long imprisonment. I don’t want him released under an amnesty. I don’t want to see his face in my town anymore,” said the mother of the victim.
Judge Htay Htay Maw from Pyinoolwin District said: “The charges against him are eligible for the death penalty. Since the accused couldn’t afford a lawyer, we asked the Attorney Office to grant him one.”
The plaintiff presented 24 witnesses and the court was adjourned until March 15, she added.
Meanwhile, campaigns demanding capital punishment for child rape and rape-and-murder cases have gathered momentum around the country.
Public signatures are being collected to support the movement and a petition with 300,000 signatures will be sent to Parliament, according to “4 Women’s Voice”, a local group working for women’s rights.
There were 1,405 rape cases in 2017, compared to 1,100 the previous year, according to a police briefing in Mayangon Township, Yangon Region.
Children were victims in 897 cases in 2017, a sharp rise compared to 671 cases in 2016. The number of adult victims also increased – from 429 to 508, said police.
Translated by Nay Thiha