Neten Dorji | Trashigang 

Trashigang’s dzongkhag court has handed down sentences to two individuals, aged 25 and 29, for the rape of a minor.

Pema Dorji, a 25-year-old from Yonphula, received a ten-year and six-month sentence, while Jangchup Pelzang, a 29-year-old from Bargoenpa , was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The court heard that Pema Dorji engaged with the victim over the phone, and within a month, the victim married him after divorcing her previous husband.

On June 7, 2023, Pema Dorji, in collusion with another man, Jangchub Pelzang, collected Nu 1,000 from Jangchub Pelzang and engaged in sexual intercourse with the 17-year-old victim.

Jangchub Pelzang was coerced by Pema Dorji to pay Nu 10,000 for the sexual encounter. When he hesitated to provide the full amount, Pema Dorji harassed him to the point that he felt compelled to file a case, ultimately collecting Nu 3,000.

The minor reported to the Royal Bhutan Police about the incident. 

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) initially charged Pema Dorji for compelling the victim to interact with others and circulate her private parts for monetary gain.

However, the court modified the charges under section 187.3 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan (CCPC). The court’s judgment, issued on November 17, revealed that Pema Dorji had made a criminal confession to all the charges presented by the OAG.

Pema Dorji was sentenced under sections 210 of CCPC and, 183, 184, 322, 323, and section 9 of the Penal Code of Bhutan. 

Jangchup Pelzang was sentenced to nine years in prison, and the charge of promoting prostitution against him was dropped, as it was deemed unintentional.

The Office of the Attorney General led the prosecution, charging the defendants with a first-degree felony and seeking compensation for the victim.

However, the victim reportedly waived the right to compensatory damages from the defendant.

Section 183 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004 specifies that the offense of rape of a child aged between twelve and eighteen years is a felony of the third degree.

Despite the legal proceedings, the case sheds light on the critical need for robust measures to protect minors from such heinous crimes.

Meanwhile, defendant Jangchup Pelzang appealed to a higher court.