Update: The 24-year-old man who was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for having consensual sex with a minor has decided to appeal to the High Court.

The man’s appeal letter states that he wants to continue his studies having qualified for a government scholarship. He had also requested the court to reconsider the prison term that the court has ordered.

The district court’s bench IV on August 31 sentenced the man to nine years imprisonment for having consensual sex with a minor student in May this year. The girl was 17 years eight months old at the time of incident.

Section 201 and 36 of the Bhutan Penal Code states that the accused is liable to compensate the girl. However, since the court found that the sex was consensual, she wouldn’t be eligible for one.

According to statement submitted by the accused, he met the girl through social media in February this year and the two had remained in touch over the phone. On June 12 the two spent their first night together.

On June 14, the accused tried to resolve the case mutually, but the girl’s brother asked the accused to pay Nu 200,000 and bear the education expense for the girl until she completes her graduation.  The brother however changed his mind later, the accused’s statement states.

According to the girl’s statement, on June 9, the accused called her to his house to discuss her project work and raped her. She said that on June 12, when she went to collect her project booklet, she was again raped by the accused, after she was forced to stay back at his house.

The victim’s brother however refuted in his statement that the allegation to pay Nu 200,000 was never made.

Office of the attorney general’s prosecutor had argued that although the parties had consensual sex, the girl’s age was in question. As per the law, she was not ready for sexual activities.

Tashi Tenzin