Myanmar migrants retract British tourist murders confession

This article is more than 12 months old

Two Myanmar migrant workers accused of murdering a pair of British tourists on a Thai island have retracted their confessions and alleged they were tortured, lawyers said on Wednesday.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were charged on Oct 5 with the murder of Mr David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Ms Hannah Witheridge, 23.

The tourists’ battered bodies were found on the island of Koh Tao last month.

The retractions are the latest blow for Thai police who have come under widespread criticism for bungling the murder investigation amid accusations the migrants were being framed for the brutal crime.

The lead lawyer for the pair, Mr Surapong Kongchantuk​, said: "The suspects said they did not kill them, they were not involved in the incident, and they were physically abused."

Evidence from forensic tests

Thai authorities have strongly denied using the pair as scapegoats, insisting the case is built on solid evidence.

Thai national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said earlier this month: "DNA test results (from the two men) confirmed that the same DNA was found in the body of the (female) victim."

On Wednesday, prosecutors confirmed they had received a letter from the defence team in which the pair withdrew their confession and laid out allegations of torture.

Prosecution lawyer Paiboon Archavanuntakun said: "It doesn’t matter if they confessed or denied it because the court will consider evidence from forensic tests."

Last week, Thai authorities agreed to allow British police to observe the investigation after the UK expressed concerns and offered to help with the probe.

The parents of the migrant workers were expected to travel to Koh Samui prison on Wednesday to visit their detained sons, Mr Surapong said.

Source: AFP

Related report:

Thai police charge Myanmar men with murder of British tourists

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