Monday, October 20, 2014

NHRC finds Koh Tao abuse 'likely'

Two suspects who allegedly confessed to the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao last month were showing signs of possible physical abuse, according to Thailand's human rights commission, a source said Monday. 
Two Myanmar suspects in the Koh Tao murder case were showing signs of possible physical abuse, a National Human Rights Commission source said Monday. (Bangkok Post photo)
An investigation led by the National Human Rights Commission found Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were exhibiting pains consistent with internal injuries, a source close to the commission said, requesting anonymity. Another source said the two likely were suffocated with plastic bags and have marks on their bodies indicating physical abuse.
Police said the two earlier confessed to the murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, Sept 15 before recanting and alleging that they had been physically abused and threatened by police.
The NHRC now plans to ask authorities to hand over the suspects for a full check-up to determine the cause of the apparent injuries, the source said.
Also on Monday, migrant-rights activists visited both Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, getting to speak to them in Myanmar and English.
Activist Andy Hall of the Migrant Workers Rights Network tweeted following the visit that both said "their treatment was fine, they experienced no problems inside the prison but said were obviously unhappy in the prison."
Hall continued that both "seemed in good health, did not appear stressed or worried about anything," adding they were having some "difficulty with wearing chains on feet."
British police officers were due to travel to Thailand to assist - or only observe, according to Thai officials -- amid concerns expressed by British officials that best-practice procedures be applied at every step of the police inquiry.
Thailand's police chief said he welcomed British representatives as "observers" of the island murder investigation. The investigation was "transparent and follows the guidance of the constitution," Gen Somyot Poompanmuang told reporters.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha last week objected to inviting British investigators, but apparently changed his position after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Asia-Europe summit in Italy on Friday.
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