Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Myanmar suspects formally retract confession

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Two Myanmar suspects  who earlier admitted to the killings of British backpackers David Miller and Hannah Witheridge in  Koh Tao have spectacularly retracted their confessions, their lawyers say. 
They said they were beaten and forced to confess, Mr Rassada Manoorassada, a lawyer of the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) said.

The two migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun  were named as suspects soon after the bodies of the two tourists were found on Sairee beach on the idyllic holiday island.

But the HRLA lawyer now said that both suspects said they did not kill Ms Witheridge and  Mr Miller,  nor did they see what happened after they visited them in the Koh Samui prison Monday.

Mr Rassada  said he was told by  Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun that they had to confess one week after the murders that they  were physically abused by the police.

They said the interpreter the police arranged also is not of their ethnic and dialect and this interpreter also kicked them to confess, the lawyer said.

He said parents of both suspects were expected to arrive in Samui to visit their sons today.
The two suspects are charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to rape, and robbery and, if charged, they could face the death penalty.

But the state prosecutor has delayed the prosecution of the two in court with reason that the case file submitted for prosecution lacked substantial evidence and needed to be improved.
Post-mortem examinations found Mr Miller died from drowning and a blow to the head, while Ms Witheridge died from head wounds.

British ambassador Mark Kent met
the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRC) president Mrs Amara Pongsapich yesterday to discuss on the murder suspects.

Mrs Amara disclosed that the ambassador inquired about the scope of authority of the NHRC and the human rights’ view on the case.

She said the ambassador was happy that the NHRC has worked in the case as it would be another version of information different from that of the Thai police.

She said the NHRC has evidence of physical assault though the police had denied  it.
She was told that the British police would arrive next week to observe the investigation.
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