Crime: Lhuentse dzongkhag court sentenced a 29-year-old man to eight years, nine months and nine days in prison for raping a 16-year-old girl and impregnating her in December 2013.

The court found Sonam from Umgar guilty of statutory rape. According to section 183 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, a person shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years if the defendant has sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 12 to 18 years.

The girl had given birth to a child in the campus and was abandoned which was seen by one of the school cooks. The cook took the infant to the Lhuentse hospital and informed the police.

Sonam told the court that he met the girl during the annual tshechu of Kisa Bee in the winter vacation 2013. A relationship developed and that it was consensual sex they had.

According to the verdict the underage girl was raped and gave birth to a child under difficult circumstances.

Sonam also paid the girl Nu 20,000 compensation.

Sonam is from Tsirang and is a painter. He has 10 days to appeal.

By Tashi Phuntsho, Mongar