Taguig court convicts Maute member for crimes against humanity, rebellion

(Eagle News) — A Taguig court has convicted a Maute member for crimes against humanity for raping his 16-year-old hostage and making her a sex slave for five months during the Marawi siege, and for rebellion.

Branch 70 of the Taguig Regional Trial Court sentenced Junaid Macauyag Awal to reclusion perpetua and fined him P500,000 after ruling he violated Sections 6 and 7 of the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

He was also sentenced¬† to “8 years and 1 day of prision mayor, in its medium period, as minimum to 14 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal in its medium period as maximum” for rebellion.

In finding Awal guilty of the first, the court gave weight to the victim’s testimony she was forced to have sexual intercourse with him for “17 times more or less” during the months she and her mother were in captivity.

The court also ruled the victim, as a civilian non-combatant, was a “protected person for having been deprived of her liberty due to the armed conflict,” which it said was considered a “non-international armed conflict because it reached a certain level of intensity and the group involved is sufficiently organized.”

“These bestial, cruel and inhuman acts committed by the accused on her honor, dignity and human being all constituting rape upon a¬† 16-year-old minor are obviously of extreme gravity..,” the court said.

The court added Awal’s defense against the rebellion charges against him was “weak,” and “cannot prevail over the positive identification” of him by prosecution witnesses.

The court said the witnesses “personally saw accused fighting against government troops and exchanged fires with them during the siege.”

“They positively identified the accused and saw him in Maute uniform, fully armed while fighting in the frontline against the military,” it said.

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao after Maute terrorists laid siege over Marawi in May 2017.