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Death penalty for child rape cases in Myanmar voted down

PHOTO: A campaign calls for death penalty for child rape – The Irrawaddy

In the wake of Monday’s surprise execution of a convicted murderer in Bangkok by lethal injection, the Myanmar Lower House has voted down a proposal for the death penalty to be imposed in child rape cases, The Irrawaddy News Online reported on Tuesday.

The proposal was spearheaded by Rathedaung township lawmaker Daw Khin Saw Wei who urged to government to impose the capital punishment for child rapists to serve as a deterrent to potential perpetrators. The issue was debated in the Lower House on Monday.

The Irrawaddy reports that U Myo Tint, a Supreme Court judge, argued that the death penalty may increase the risk of the victim being killed by the rapist.

“Suppose the death penalty is introduced. The sex offender will have to face the death penalty, whether he rapes or kills the victim. Under such circustances, he might be more likely to kill the victim to destroy evidence. We need to consider the safety of the victims,” the judge was quoted to have said.

Deputy Attorney-General U Win Myint also pointed to the instances of false rape claims.

Child rape accounted for 61 percent of total rape cases in 2016, 64 percent in 2017 and 68 percent until the end of April this year, said Major General Aung Thu, the deputy home affairs minister.

A large number of rape cases in Myanmar are committed by family members, but most are committed by strangers.

18 offenders were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for child rape in 2016 and the number increased to 25 last year.

The penalties for rape range from 10-20 years imprisonment under Section 376. The crime of raping and killing is punishable by death sentence.

SOURCE: The Irrawaddy

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