Cyber sex offenders to get time

Cyber sex-pests and abusers could go to prison, the police said on August 8. Police Captain Thi Thi Myint told The Myanmar Times that anyone using electronic transaction technology to disturb, threaten or defame in a sexual manner could face penalties of three to five years’ jail and a fine.

This could include the use of Facebook and other social media, as well as the internet and the telephone. Yangon regional police were prepared to take action if they received a complaint, said Pol Capt Thi Thi Myint.

“Information technology brings disadvantages as well as advantages, and sexual violence against women through the use of technology is increasing. If the victim can provide evidence of abuse, we will act on it,” he said. Evidence would include abusive phone and text messages, he added.

Section 34(d) of the Electronic Transaction Law provides for punishment for anyone sending any information to disturb or insult a person or association. The law was passed last year to spur e-commerce, e-government and online banking. A 2013 telecommunications law also imposes jail terms and fines for similar offences.

In June, a woman who said she had been threatened with the misuse of her picture filed a criminal complaint with Latha township police. Other women claim to have reportedly faced threats of extortion arising from the misuse of their photographs online.

Office worker Ma Wutt Yee, who says she has been the victim of threats, said women were not sufficiently aware of their options under the law. “Women are reluctant to launch proceedings, which helps perpetuate these practices and protects the predators,” she said.

Director and advocate of Legal Clinic Myanmar Daw Hla Hla Yi told The Myanmar Times on August 6 that raising public awareness would help reinforce rule of law. “Women are traditionally and culturally marginalised. Dealing with crimes against women is not a priority for society and they don’t receive fair treatment and justice,” she said.

“If we help bring justice, people will start to trust the legal system. We need to raise awareness and training, and reinforce the legal framework,” she said, citing the damage done to the legal framework of the country as a result of decades of military dictatorship.

Yangon-based Legal Clinic Myanmar was established in 2011 to raise public interest in and knowledge of the criminal justice system. It offers legal awareness and paralegal training at its head office and at branch offices in Kachin and Rakhine states, and Ayeyarwady and Mandalay regions.

LCM also provides free legal advice through a 24-hour hotline, as well as legal services to victims who cannot afford to pursue a case, which is very common in domestic violence complaints.

Source: Myanmar Times

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