Pleads court to sentence the accused for life

The office of the attorney general (OAG) charged a 35-year-old man with murder for setting his 27-year-old ex-wife on fire last month in Thimphu.

The OAG also requested Thimphu dzongkhag court to make him pay a compensation of Nu 450,000 to the victim, equivalent to 10 years national wage and an addition of Nu 55,125 for funeral expenses.

The charge sheet of November 24 stated that although the crime is liable for a minimum of 15-years to life sentence, the OAG is charging the accused to be sentenced for life given the gravity of the crime that was committed intentionally. The charge for life sentence is based on section 7(a) of the Penal Code of Bhutan.

The prosecutor also submitted to he court that the accused had used petrol to set her on fire that led to her death.

Substantiating the charges, the prosecutor submitted to court that the accused had intentionally planned the murder before they met at the centennial park in Thimphu on October 22. “He had carried along petrol and a match box along when he came from Paro to meet her.  He set her on fire, after she refused to go back with him to Paro,” the charge sheet stated.

The charge sheet also stated that the accused had used their child as a means to meet her for his planned murder.

According to the accused’s statement, the victim was carrying a black plastic bag in her hand at the time of meeting, in which she was carrying petrol and threatened him of burning herself and reporting false information to police.

He stated that her body caught fire when she tried to light a beedi and fell to the ground. “I requested her to visit Nedrel hotel to wash before the incident, but she refused,” his statement stated.

The OAG prosecutor stated that woman told police before she died that her ex-husband set her on fire after she refused to go back to Paro with him.

She also told the police that her ex-husband was missing after a taxi driver rushed her to the hospital. The ex-husband was later caught from Paro.

Taxi drivers, who were nearby witnessed the incident and managed to put off the fire before taking her to the hospital.

At the time of the incident, the victim and the accused were divorced and living separately. The victim was working in one of the drayangs in Thimphu.

The victim suffered second-degree burn. About 50 percent of her body including the face, chest, back and abdomen had superficial burns. She died on October 23. They have a three-year old daughter who lives with the accused.

Tashi Tenzin