YANGON — A taxi driver sentenced to death for the January rape and murder of a government employee will appeal the verdict this week, his lawyer told Frontier today.
Yangon Eastern District Court convicted Ko Myo Zaw Oo on June 22 for the murder of Ma Shwe Yee Win, 26, and sentenced him to death under section 302 of the Penal Code.
He was also charged under sections 376, 377 and 394 for rape and robbery. The death penalty has not been carried out in Myanmar since 1988.
Myo Zaw Oo’s lawyer U Maung Maung Soe told Frontier his client had confessed to killing Shwe Yee Win, but said the punishment did not fit the crime and that he would appeal.
“The punishment is too big for the crime and we will appeal to Yangon Region Court in the coming days,” he said. The defendant can legally submit an appeal within seven days of the verdict.
The incident took place on the evening of January 20, as Myo Zaw Oo drove Shwe Yee Win, an employee of the Ministry of Health and Sports’ Food and Drug Administration, from Hledan Centre in Yangon’s Kamaryut Township to her home in Dagon Township.
According to a police report previously seen by Frontier, they argued about the fare and he stabbed her in the throat with a screwdriver. He then allegedly drove to a sports field in North Dagon and raped her before stealing her possessions including her jewellery and a telephone.
Three days later, police arrested Myo Zaw Oo at a mobile phone shop in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, where he was attempting to install new software on the stolen phone.
The incident shocked many in Yangon and prompted a group of women to protest at the township-level trial earlier this year. They called for the introduction of a mandatory death sentence for those convicted of rape.