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Koh Tao murder case: Prosecution fails to file rebuttal

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 22, were sentenced to death in December 2015 for the murder of two British tourists.

 

Thai prosecutors have failed to respond to an appeal to a murder conviction for two Burmese migrant workers.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 22, were sentenced to death in December 2015 for the murder of two British tourists. In August this year, the defendants’ legal team submitted a 319-page appeal to Koh Samui provincial court. Since then, lawyers for the prosecution have repeatedly delayed submitting their rebuttal to the appeal. On three occasions the prosecution team has requested the court for an extension, saying it had inadequate time to prepare.

Aung Myo Thant, a legal adviser at the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, told DVB that the prosecution team had requested yet another extension – this time until 23 January 2018.

“The judges will have to review both the appeal and the prosecutor’s rebuttal,” he said. “We will probably see some movement at the next legal proceeding.”

The Burmese embassy has been working alongside the defense team and human rights advocates in trying to secure the release of the two Burmese youths, saying that the two men were victims of shoddy police work or even scapegoats to a conspiracy.

In launching its appeal against the conviction, the defense pointed to the alleged mishandling of DNA evidence by local police.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun are currently being detained in Bang Kwang prison in Bangkok. Aung Myo Thant said that they are both in good health.

English backpackers Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found dead on a beach on Koh Tao on the morning of 15 September 2014. In addition to murder, Witheridge had been raped, forensics experts said.