Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Myanmar wants Koh Tao reopened

The Myanmar embassy has requested that police reopen the investigation into the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao. 

Lawyer Aung Myo Thant told Democrat Voice of Burma (DVB) that the embassy made the request to the Justice Ministry on Monday evening, on the basis that confessions by Myanmar suspects Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were made under duress of torture.

“The kids [Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun] have told the Thai human rights commission, the lawyers, our embassy team and their parents on each occasion that they were beaten by police,” he said.

“Therefore we requested that a special team be formed to reinvestigate the case. We presented a written letter of request to a ministry official.”

Aung Myo Thant said that he and the embassy team had met with members of the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the suspects’ parents on Monday.

A representative of the NHRC called on police to answer the allegations of beatings or torture during interrogation, but the police failed to show up at the meeting, the second time they have failed to appear, said Myanmar embassy team member Kyaw Thaung of the Myanmar Association in Thailand.

“The [Thai] Human Rights Commission requested the Thai Lawyers Council and ourselves to present any information we had,” he told DVB by telephone. “They also requested any evidence that contradicts the DNA tests. We exchanged information about the details of the case.”

British tourists David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were bludgeoned to death on Koh Tao in the early hours of Sept 15. Witheridge was also raped. After an international outcry, Myanmar migrants Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were arrested two weeks later, police claiming that DNA taken from Witheridge matched the two suspects.

The Myanmar pair now say they are innocent of the crimes and maintain that they confessed under duress after police told them they would be killed if they did not confess.

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