13-year-old boy accused of rape, murder, and allegedly tortured by police, released on bail

January 17, 2019

WCRP: A 13-year-old boy taken into police custody in early November 2018, on suspicion of the rape and murder of his adoptive sister, was released on bail by the Zayar Thiri Police Station on November 20th 2018, as authorities could not amount any evidence to keep the boy in police custody or press charges under Article 376/302 (punishment for rape/punishment for murder) of the Penal Code.

Police suspected the boy of raping and killing his 8-year-old adoptive sister on October 18th 2018, in the Tar Yar Aye Quarter of Mawlamyine, Mon State. Although the boy’s neighbors informed the police, and could attest that, he had been playing with his friends in the village while the victim went missing, he was held at a Youth Care Training Center, under the control of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement from November 2nd 2018, until his release.

We have many reasons to suspect him, but we don’t have enough evidence to charge him. He’s been released on bail as we continue to investigate, but we can charge him anytime if new evidence is discovered,” said Inspector Maung Win from the Zayar Thiri Police Station.

However, unless police soon provide the court with new evidence implicating the boy or a third party in this crime, the boy will be cleared of suspicion and the investigation will likely not move forward.

As previously reported by HURFOM, on October 18th, around 10 am, the victim left for her aunt’s house but never returned home. The family, worried, went to look for her but could not find her. The family reported her as missing to police on October19th, and her body was found around 2 pm in a brick-making pit near Hlaing Yadanar Street.

In response to this incident, police from Zayar Thiri Police Station arrested the girl’s 13-year-old brother, Mg A—, on November 1st around 11 pm. His mother alleges that police attempted to force a confession from the boy by keeping him in a stress position “as if he was driving a motorbike for the entire night.”

Citing a lack of evidence, authorities have had to release the boy, but these events raise serious concerns about child rights, justice, and the rule of law in Burma.

Between June 2017 and July 2018, HURFOM’s Women and Child Rights Project documented 14 cases of sexual violence against children in Mon State, while in May 2018, Mawlamyine

Police Station released statistics showing a 42% increase in the number of cases they received regarding sexual violence against children in Mon State.

This incident only contributes to a Burma-wide trend of increased reported rapes, and signals that the Burma government must take action to eliminate corruption in police and judicial systems, and ensure all reported cases of sexual violence are investigated thoroughly to secure justice for victims and their families.

Being signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Burma government has an obligation under international law to protect every child from violence, torture, all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and arbitrary arrest and detention.

 

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