U Win Naing Soe, chair of the Legal Aid Network, described the court’s decision issued last Wednesday as “fair”.
“Actually, he should have been sentenced to death, but since the death sentence could not be carried out, 20 years’ imprisonment was best,” he said. “We will provide legal education in the neighbourhood. We think there would be fewer such incidents if people know the law.”
The rape happened last May. The victim, a 7-year-old girl, was raped after going to the house of the accused, a neighbour.
The victim’s mother said she filed a complaint with police after her daughter had been treated at Taunggyi Women and Children Hospital for some months.
“They [the suspect’s family] negotiated with me to settle the case for money, but I rejected their offer because other children would not be safe if he was not punished,” she said.
Ma Thaw Dar Swe, a member of the network who monitored the case, said the suspect at first denied the accusation.
“He could not deny it after the medical records showed that the case was rape. He didn’t confess until the end,” she said.