Friday, October 10, 2014

Koh Tao suspect innocent, says dad

Myanmar 'witness' did not see murders

  • Published:  | Viewed: 11,264 | Comments: 12
  • Newspaper section: News
  • Writer: Bangkok Post and Agencies
The father of a Myanmar worker charged with the murders of two British tourists on Koh Tao last month has pleaded for a chance to talk to his son. 
U Tun Tun Hteik, who lives in Kapi village of Rakhine state's Kyaukphyu township, told Mizzima newsagency in a phone interview that he and his wife did not believe their son, Win, was capable of murder.
He had learned of his son's arrest from people in the village who also worked on Koh Tao, and then later on TV.
Since then, his wife has been unable to eat or sleep, U Tun Tun Hteik said.
His wife never wanted Win to work in Thailand, he told the news agency, saying she worried that Win would be exploited.
The parents said they had no idea what to do as they had nomoney and did not know how they could travel to Yangon.
When asked if he thought his son would be released, U Tun Tun Hteik said: "I do not believe that my son would commit murder. I think he will be released if the investigation into this case is fair and systematic."
Meanwhile, lawyer Aung Myo Thant told the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) online newspaper Thursday that Maung Maung, who police claim was a witness in the sense that he had useful information but certainly not an 'eyewitness'.
He drank beer and played guitar with Win and the second suspect, Zaw Rim, and then left the scene about 1am to see his girlfriend.
The two suspects remained at the scene, he said.
Maung Maung told the lawyer that when he returned home at 5am, he found the two suspects sleeping and nothing seemed suspicious.
Aung Myo Thant and Myanmar Association Thailand representative Kyaw Thaung were permitted by police on Koh Samui to question Maung Maung on Wednesday. The interview took place in the presence of police.
An interpreter who took part in the interrogation may have been involved in torturing or beating the two suspects, Aung Myo Thant told DVB.
In an interview with the Global New Light of Myanmar, the country's state-run newspaper on Wednesday, the embassy demanded an impartial probe of the case and for the suspects' legal rights to be recognised.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s most-respected forensics specialist cast doubts on the police investigation, saying investigators erred when they neglected to consult a forensic pathologist.
Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, director-general of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, told the Manager online newspaper that police did not understand that the investigation required a medical examiner.
"The weak point [in the investigation] is that police did not understand the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller required a forensic pathologist, so the officers who collected evidence did not call one in from Surat Thani Hospital,"
she said.
"A case with two murdered people certainly needs a forensic physician."
The forensic expert's criticism is the latest to be levelled at the probe into the Britons' deaths.
A series of errors — including allowing tourists to enter the crime scene before all evidence was collected — followed by the arrest last week of the Myanmar nationals has led to widespread accusations the two migrant workers are scapegoats.
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