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Burma: Act On Courts, Police Covering Up Child Rape-AHRC

Burma: Act On Courts, Police Covering Up Child Rape-AHRC

(Hong Kong, May 8, 2013) The Asian Human Rights Commission on Wednesday condemned ongoing efforts by the courts and police in Burma to thwart prosecution of an influential person accused of abduction and rape of a child.

On April 24, the Eastern District Court hearing a charge of rape against U Myint Aung, a businessman residing in North Okkalapa, Rangoon, after recording evidence from prosecution witnesses closed the matter for the day and set another date to receive expert medical evidence.

Afterwards, in the absence of the victim or her lawyer, the judge then called and took evidence from a doctor who examined the victim. The judge also failed to record these actions correctly in the court diary, which is the official record of the court's activities.

The AHRC decried the judge's actions and called for the evidence to be deleted from the record. It urged that the doctor be recalled and examined in the presence of all parties.

"In a rape case, the physical evidence is extremely important. Where, as in this case, the medical expert witness has been heard without the victim or her lawyer present it is sufficient to constitute a miscarriage of justice," Bijo Francis, acting executive director of the Hong Kong-based regional rights group, said.

"The doctor must be re-examined and the official record corrected," he insisted.

Francis pointed out that the action by the judge is only the latest in a series of events in this case pointing to a conspiracy among the judiciary, police and public prosecution to thwart the trial and further persecute the victim by supporting and protecting the alleged offenders.

The alleged perpetrators of the abduction and rape have themselves lodged fabricated charges, allegedly with the aid of police and other officials, against the victim.

"We have in two previous urgent appeals called for action to be taken by higher authorities to examine the goings-on in this case, which lead us to believe strongly that the officials involved are taking bribes or are otherwise influenced in favour of the accused parties," he noted.

"The supporters of the young girl, Ma Htet Htet, have also repeatedly submitted complaints to the home affairs ministry, police, chief minister of the Rangoon region, and other authorities without result," Francis observed, referring to the victim by a pseudonym used by the AHRC in its public interventions on the case.

"We again urge that these superior agencies take immediate action to stop the local courts and investigating police from their continued mischief, in order that Htet Htet get justice," he concluded.

The most recent update on the case is available on the AHRC website, at: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAU-011-2013

The update includes a link to the original appeal, and a sample letter that the group is urging concerned persons and institutions to sign or modify and send to the relevant authorities listed in the appeal.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

ENDS

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