Koh Tao murders: Thai Law Society talks possible appeal with Myanmar envoy

Koh Tao murders: Thai Law Society talks possible appeal with Myanmar envoy
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

Myanmar's ambassador to Thailand, U Win Maung, yesterday met with Law Society president Dej-Udom Krairit to discuss an appeal in the Koh Tao double-murder case. Two workers from Myanmar were sentenced to death last week for the murder two British tourists on the island last year. Dej-Udom said the Law Society had set up a committee to scrutinise the court's verdict, but the association might not be able to file an appeal within 30 days after the sentence was handed down. The lawyers might seek the court's permission to extend the time frame in order to help them understand the verdict, he said.

Thousands of Myanmar people staged rallies in their homeland after the Samui Provincial Court handed the death penalty to Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun for the killing of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23.

Key officials in the Thai government - notably Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan - have said they believe the protests in Myanmar and other countries such as Sri Lanka and Malaysia were manipulated by Thai people who dislike this country's military-led regime and its junta.

The verdict was not final. The two defendants have a chance to appeal for a reconsideration by higher courts. It could take one to three years for the Appeals Court to reconsider a verdict of the primary court, Dej-Udom said.

The Law Society's team has made 26 trips to the murder scene on Koh Tao. Its lawyers provided pro bono legal services for the accused.

According to Dej-Udom, the ambassador said he would ask for the government's financial support, pending a report from the association.

The association also plans to seek the court's approval to bring the two convicts from Surat Thani prison to a jail in Bangkok, to facilitate the legal process.

Meanwhile, Thai Ambassador to Myanmar Pisanu Suvanajata met with Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday to explain the legal procedures in the case. The Thai envoy handed the minister copies of the Thai court's verdict in English and Burmese in order to have Myanmar authorities study it.

The minister told the Thai ambassador that an appeal would be made step by step in accordance with the procedures of the Thai judicial system, according to state-run newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar.

The Myanmar government is working closely with its embassy in Bangkok and the Thai Law Society, the paper said.



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