Couple in child abuse video held, face charges

National 1 minute, 54 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A YOUNG couple is facing heavy punishment after their abuse of a little girl came to light in a disturbing video widely shared on social media over the weekend.

Mohd Shahiful Rizal Bakri, 28, together with the mother of the four-year-old victim will be brought to court on charges of child abuse today, following their recording of the violent crime which led to their swift arrest on Monday.

The three-minute video showed the wailing child, whose hands and legs were tied, being physically and verbally attacked by Mohd Shahiful Rizal as her mother laughed in amusement.

It is unclear when the incident occurred and who uploaded the recording on the Internet, but the video went viral in Brunei on the weekend, causing public outrage and prompting immediate response from the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).

The couple were investigated by the Women and Children Abuse Investigations Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department after receiving public tip-offs. Both suspects are accused under Section 28(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act, Chapter 219, which carries imprisonment for up to 10 years, a maximum fine of $20,000 with or without whipping not exceeding 10 lashes, or both.

The victim has also been taken to the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital to undergo a physical examination.

A representative of the Community Development Department (JAPEM) said the child is currently in safe hands, but declined to elaborate further. The victim’s guardian was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Brunei Times.

The RBPF also urged the public to immediately report information on crime by calling the 993 police emergency line or visiting their nearest police station. Those in possession of the viral child abuse video were ordered to delete and refrain from circulating the material in accordance to Section 95 of the Children and Young Persons Act, which forbids the publication or distribution of any content which may compromise the victim’s identity.

Anyone found flouting the law can be punished with a maximum fine of $5,000, imprisonment of up to two years, or both if convicted.

In protecting the safety and welfare of the community, the RBPF said all cases of violence are taken seriously and action will be undertaken against such offences in line with the provisions of the sultanate’s laws.

The Brunei Times