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Myanmar Embassy Files Official Request with Thai Justice Ministry Wanting Koh Tao Probe Re-Opened

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin

 

BANGKOK – Myanmar has officially called for Thai authorities to reopen the investigation into the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao as there are many unanswered questions in relation to the arrest of the two Myanmar citizens.

Lawyer Aung Myo Thant told the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) that the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok had filed the request with the Justice Ministry on Monday on the basis that suspects Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun had allegedly confessed to the crimes under duress.

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

“Therefore, we request that a special team be formed to re-investigate the case. We presented a written letter of request to a ministry official,” the lawyer said.

Officials from the embassy along with the suspects’ parents met with members of the Lawyers Council of Thailand and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to discuss the matter, recounted Aung Myo Thant, who was also at the meeting.

The NHRC said recently that the suspects had been tortured during police interrogation to get them to confess the crimes of raping and killing the tourists. However, police insisted that the suspects had confessed of their own free will and refused to provide any details of the interrogation to the NHRC.

Niran Pitakwatchara, head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sub-committee on civil and political rights, chairs a meeting on the Koh Tao case last week. Thai police were not present. APICHIT JINAKUL

Niran Pitakwatchara, head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sub-committee on civil and political rights, chairs a meeting on the Koh Tao case last week. Thai police were not present. APICHIT JINAKUL

“The [Thai] Human Rights Commission requested the Thai Lawyers Council and us to present any information we may have,” Kyaw Thaung, a member of the Myanmar Embassy’s team, told DVB on telephone. Kyaw Thaung is also a member of the Myanmar Association in Thailand.

“They also asked for any evidence that might contradict the DNA tests. We exchanged information about the details of the case.”

Meanwhile, Police handling the Koh Tao murders case have for the fourth time missed their appointment with the National Human Rights Commission to counter charges they tortured suspects into confessing.

Police handling the Koh Tao murders case have again stood up the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has repeatedly invited investigators to its headquarters to clear up allegations they tortured two Myanmar suspects to confess.

National police chief Pol Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang told the Bangkok Post he understands that the NHRC has to perform its duty and try and help the Myanmar suspects.

But, he said, it is not possible for police to discuss any part of their investigation, for fear of violating the Criminal Code, Section 157 for revealing confidential and sensitive information.

But Dr Niran said the NHRC does not wish to expose details of the case, only whether the police engaged in misconduct. “We are investigating the alleged torture and abuse of the suspects,” Dr Niran said. “We are not investigating the murder case.”

Surapong Kongchantuk from the Lawyers Council of Thailand said the suspects’ parents on Monday filed another complaint with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). They asked the department to re-investigate the murder case as well as the allegations of torture.

DSI chief Suwana Suwanjuta said the department will consider whether the Koh Tao case is a “special case” . The DSI can only handle cases requiring special investigation.

Myanmar suspects Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin have been held in the Koh Samui lockup since they were officially charged with the brutal Sept 15 murders of English tourists David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23.

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Posted by on Nov 5 2014. Filed under Regional News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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