Family unhappy with police handling of 16-year-old girl’s kidnapping and rape

June 13, 2017

HURFOM: The family of a 16-year-old girl from Mote Tama City, Mawlamyine District, Mon State, is unhappy with police action after she was kidnapped and raped. They voiced their concerns on June 7th 2017 to Hinthar Media Corporation, a private media group based in Mawlamyine, commenting that the perpetrator has only been charged with kidnapping under Penal Code #363 and has already been released on bail.

According to the family, on May 4th 2017, 16-year-old Ma H— was lured by a distant relative’s husband, Ko D—, to accompany him to Myawaddy, a town on the border of southeast Burma and Thailand, where he forced the girl to engage in sexual activity. The following morning, the girl asked him to send her back home, but he refused.

Only after realizing that the girl’s family had reported her disappearance to the local police station did Ko D— consent to her return alone with 2,000 kyat (US $1.47) via a privately run mini-van service. Before she left, he threatened her and ordered her not to tell her family what had happened and to lie and say she had returned from a trip to Rangoon (Yangon). He also told the girl that he intended to continue the relationship with his wife, the girl’s third cousin, and that she should remain silent about the incident upon her return home.

On May 7th 2017, the girl arrived back home and immediately revealed what had happened during her absence. Daw M— took Ma H— to the police station and reported that the missing girl was now found and that Ko D— had kidnapped and raped her.

I’m angry that even though he has a pregnant wife, he raped a distant cousin of his wife. So I asked the police to charge him and they charged him under Penal Code #363 – Punishment for Kidnapping. I understand nothing [about the law] so I accepted everything. The police detained him at the station,” said the girl’s mother.“We went nowhere and waited for the police to update us at home,but Ko D— was released[on bail]three days after his arrest and the police did not inform us about anything.” continued Daw M—.

Frustrated, Daw M— consulted with a lawyer who advised her to request the record of Ko D—’s arrest from the police. Upon seeing the record, Daw M—’s legal counsel suggested she file a lawsuit against Ko D— citing violation of the Monogamy Law.

The lawyer said that he should not be released [from jail]. I must sue him with the Monogamy Law. He [lawyer] wrote a letter and told me to go to the police and file a lawsuit. The police did not receive our complaint on that day, but we went to the station again on May 14th  2017 and the police accepted our lawsuit and arrested the culprit. But he was released again. The police told nothing to us and we knew nothing [again],” continued the girl’s mother.

According to the family, the police informed them that they must release KoD— [on bail] under Penal Code #363; moreover, Ko D— was already free of the charge under the Monogamy Law. The family has been waiting for a call from the police regarding the remaining charge related to kidnapping; however, there has been no reply from the police for almost a month now.

I want everything to happen in accordance with the law. He was freed from the charge under the Monogamy Law. He was freed from such a big accusation [of rape]. So I don’t know how the police will handle the charge under Penal Code #363. Now we have no money so we just wait and see. Even though there is a charge under Penal Code #363, the police do not inform us of any developments,” said Daw M—.

Daw M— revealed her anger and dissatisfaction with the police’s handling of her daughter’s case to the Hinthar Media Corporation, asking the audience if it was possible to sue Ko D— under the Monogamy Law again after the charges were dropped already once before.

Over the last several years, violence and sexual abuse toward children in Burma has become an increasingly visible and controversial issue. Police statistics show that reports of sexual abuse of children, especially young girls, has increased significantly over the last three years, rising from 43% of all reported rapes in 2013 to 61% in 2016. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) itself has seen a significant rise in the number of reported cases of sexual violence toward children. For more information on sexual violence toward children and the challenges to accessing justice in Mon State and Mon areas of southeast Burma, see HURFOM’s March 2017 report: Cracks in the Silence.

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