Koh Tao murders: Indictment awaited

Koh Tao murders: Indictment awaited

Two Burmese men accused of the brutal slayings of a pair of British backpackers on Koh Tao in September could be indicted as soon as Tuesday, after police submitted additional evidence requested by prosecutors.

Surat Thani investigative chief Pol Col Wichob Kerdkliang gave prosecutors the requested information on Monday, said Public Prosecution 8 deputy director-general Thawatchai Siangjaew, head of the panel handling the investigation report.

The committee will meet Tuesday to review the new evidence and, if prosecutors deem it complete, the indictment order could be issued in the afternoon. If not, the indictment likely would come down later this week, Mr Thawatchai said.

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Prosecutors earlier has ordered police to investigate claims of alleged torture by police against suspects Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo [the latter previously named incorrectly as Win Zaw Htun]. Prosecutors also wanted more details on the examination of material evidence, including DNA samples taken from the victimised bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

The two Burmese men face possible death sentences for the 15 September slayings of the two Britons on Koh Tao’s Sairee Beach. They also are accused of raping Witheridge, illegal entry, and murder to retain benefits resulting from other crimes.

The men initially confessed to the charges, but later retracted their confessions, saying they had been tortured and threatened with death if they didn’t admit to the crimes.

If they aren’t indicted tomorrow, prosecutors will need to request from the court a sixth extension of their detention. Both suspects were denied bail last week.

 

This article was originally published in the Bangkok Post on 1 December 2014.

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