The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) appealed to the High Court after Haa dzongkhag court sentenced a man to 26 years and six months in prison for murdering his mother-in-law.

OAG appealed to the High Court, stating that the defendant should be sentenced to life.

Kinley Gyeltshen, 33, from Goenshari in Punakha was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murdering his mother-in-law in October last year in Kipri,Uesu, Haa.

He was sentenced to another year and six months in prison for not being able to pay compensation to the victim’s family.

The judgement rendered on May 28 stated that the convict has to pay compensatory damage of Nu 492,875, which is a daily minimum national wage rate for a maximum of 10 years and the cost incurred in conducting rituals for forty-nine days by seven people to the victim’s family.

Kinley Gyeltshen was detained on October 24 last year after the deceased’s brother reported the case two days after suspecting foul play against him.

The case was earlier registered as an accident.

Kinley Gyeltshen was found guilty of hitting his mother-in-law on the head with a spade and letting her die in a pool of blood.

He was found guilty of violating violated section 138 (A) of the Penal Code of Bhutan, which states that the defendant shall be found guilty of the offence of murder if the defendant commits a homicide knowingly and deliberately with premeditated malice.

The crime was graded a first-degree felony with minimum sentencing of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentencing of life imprisonment.

The judgment stated that although the convict should be given life imprisonment, the practice in other countries is that such convicts remain in prison between 14 to 25 years and are later sent on parole. “Without such an option in the country, the court invokes a universal principle, the Doctrine of Lenity, and sentenced him to 25 years in prison so that when he turns 57, he could come out of the prison to benefit himself and the society.”

By Phub Dem | Paro

Edited by Tashi Dema