The Burmese embassy’s legal team has requested reopening the investigation into the murder of two British citizens on the Thai island of Koh Tao.
Lawyer Aung Myo Thant told DVB that the embassy made the request to Thailand’s Ministry of Legal Affairs on Monday evening on the basis that confessions by Burmese 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 Thai Lawyers Council, the country’s Human Rights Commission and the suspects’ parents from 1pm to 3:30pm on Monday, 3 November.
A representative of the Human Rights Commission 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 Burmese 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 15 September. Miss Witheridge was also raped. After an international outcry, Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were arrested two weeks later, police claiming that DNA taken from Witheridge matched the two suspects.
The Burmese 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.