NMSP’s decision on forced marriage not accepted by perpetrator
October 25, 2016
On April 21, 2016, Mg Ko Lay, a young man from Ka Lot Thot Village, Mudon Township, Mon State, had forcefully pressured his girlfriend to marry him without her consent. The case was brought to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) representatives; however, the 24-year-old man said in a press conference in early October 2016 that he was not satisfied with the NMSP’s decision on the case.
At 4 pm on April 21, Mg Ko Lay, together with 9 friends, forcefully took and engaged in a sexual act without his 17-year-old girlfriends’ consent at a rubber plantation in Mae Ta Ro Village. After this incident, Mg Ko Lay took the young girl to his aunt’s house in Shwe La Inn Village, Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township, Karen State.
On April 22, the parents of Mi Ma Lay, the victim, visited the Ka Lot Thot Village Headman and said that they would agree to the marriage off their daughter; however, if their daughter does not agree to the marriage, they want their daughter back. They also said that they will not report the case to authorities. After a short discussion, the village headman signed a mutual consent contract with them.
“On April 4, the village headman, the parents of Mg Ko Lay and Mi Ma Lay and their relatives went to where Mg Ko Lay and Mi Ma Lay live. But, on the way, the village headman changed his mind and turned back without giving any reason. The relatives and parents continued their trip to Shwe La Inn Village,” said U Tun Nyo, the uncle of Mg Ko Lay.
“After the girl left the house with his parents, four Mon soldiers from Inn Gua (NMSP) Military Base suddenly appeared and came into the house. After, they arrested Mg Ko Lay,” continued U Tun Nyo.
Mg Ko Lay’s parents went to Inn Gua Base and had a discussion with Nai Mya Mon, the District Chairman of the NMSP. The parents explained that they had had an agreement with the village headman on the marriage; however, Nai Mya Mon did not accept the reason and intimidated them by saying that they would be arrested if they reported the case to any department of the Myanmar Government.
“Both parties had an agreement, which was made in the presence of the village headman. So the problem must be solved. If the village headmans’ decision is not acknowledged, then who can we rely on? We’re treated like an orphanage,” said U Aung Khine, a Ka Lot Thot villager.
Daw Ngwe Taung, the mother of Mg Ko Lay, said that she is a widow and had no money to pay the compensation to the NMSP as they requested for her to see her son. Therefore, she has had to return to work without having a chance to see her son.
“Whenever I went to Inn Gua Base to meet with my son, he was hand and foot cuffed. He has been in handcuffs since his arrest. If my son is found guilty, he must be punished in accordance with the laws,” said Daw Ngwe Taung. Daw Ngwe Taung requested the NMSP to release her son from being handcuffed; however, the party replied that her son would be relieved of the cuffs after the family has paid a compensation of 20 million Kyat.
“According to the NMSP, Mg Ko Lay will be relieved from his cuffs only after paying the insurance premium fee of 20 million Kyat to Inn Gua Base. But the defendant’s family doesn’t have any plantations in Kyar Inn Seik Kyi in order to pay the fee. They have plantations in Mudon Township but Inn Gua Base doesn’t acknowledge the property in Mudon,” said U Tun Nyo.
On August 28, the Special District Office of the NMSP came to a decision that Mg Ko Lay is guilty of the charges as he forcefully married an under-aged girl; his friends are also found guilty as they were involved in the event. Mg Ko Lay will be imprisoned for 5 years and has to pay fee of 4 million Kayt to Mi Ma Lay. His friends will be imprisoned for 1 year.
“If the case was reported to the Myanmar government, the young boy would not receive such a long sentence.” said a Ka Lot Thot resident, U Aung Khine.
Mg Ko Lay’s parents have not been satisfied with the decision made by the NMSP and reported the case to the Mon State Government on July 31, claiming that Ka Lot Thot Village is a place under the authority of the (Mon State) Government and the case should be decided and judged by the (Mon State) Government.