Myanmar calls for 'justice' in Thai murder case

Investigation dogged by allegations that Myanmar suspects were confessed under torture to killing British tourists

Myanmar calls for 'justice' in Thai murder case

World Bulletin/News Desk

The head of Myanmar’s military has called on Thailand’s deputy prime minister to ensure “justice” in the case of two British tourists who were murdered at the Thai beach resort of Koh Tao.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing called on Thai officials to allow an investigation by Myanmar’s embassy in Bangkok to go ahead “freely and transparently,” the state-run New Light of Myanmar news agency reported Friday.

The commander-in-chief also told Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, that it is better that “many guilty persons should escape unpunished, than one innocent person should suffer,” during their meeting Thursday in Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, was raped and died from severe head wounds and David Miller, 24, died after being beaten over the head and drowned. Their bodies were found on one of the island’s pristine beaches last month.

Two migrants from Myanmar have been charged with the killings, but the investigation has been dogged by allegations that the suspects were forced to confess under torture.

Police have also been accused of bungling the investigation by, among other things, failing to call in a forensic pathologist and allowing tourists to trample over the crime scene before all the evidence had been collected.

The murders are a fresh blow to Thailand’s tourism industry after months of political unrest culminating in a military coup in May.

Earlier this week, local Myanmar media reported that a lawyer representing suspects Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21, said they had withdrawn their confessions.

The chief of Koh Samui District Prison added that both men have been placed on suicide watch because “they show signs of stress,” the Khao Sod news website reported Thursday.  

The case is threatening to tarnish cozy Thai-Myanmar relations, which both countries hope to cement this week as a high-level delegation of Thai officials visits Myanmar.

Leaders hope the two-day trip led by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general who took power in the May 22 coup, will solidify investment deals between the two countries. 

Last Mod: 10 Ekim 2014, 14:13
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