Koh Tao murders: Petition seeking new probe to be handed to British PM

THAILAND - A British newspaper reported that a petition with more than 65,000 signatures would soon be handed to Prime Minister David Cameron's Office asking for a reinvestigation into the Koh Tao case and outlining fears that Thai investigation into the September 15 murders was "flawed".

Jersey Evening Post said the number of people who put their names down on the petition had risen from 45,000 six days ago to 65,000 as of yesterday.

The online petition addressed to the British Embassy in Thailand demands a "full and independent investigation" into the killings.

Separately, Thai public prosecutors and forensic police will provide clarifications in a press conference on Monday as to whether the two Myanmar migrants accused of killing the two British tourists had been tortured during interrogation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said yesterday.

The rights commission has also invited officials from the Justice Ministry's Central Institute of Forensic Science to attend the 10am event, which will be held at the NHRC headquarters.

Details gathered by a fact-finding NHRC committee through interviews with the two suspects, migrant workers and other Koh Tao residents would also be revealed at the conference, commissioner Nirand Phithakwatchara said.

Before departing for Italy yesterday, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha was briefed about the meeting between the British and Myanmar ambassadors. The Foreign Ministry mediated this meeting.

PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha was quoted as saying the meeting's results could be considered satisfactory as the British diplomats appeared to be receptive to the Thai police's investigation, though they found it difficult to accept the fact that police was not required to keep them updated on the case constantly.

Citing a statement by an unknown British official that the police had not given him constant updates, the premier said police were not obliged to report on their work unless a formal request is submitted.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Lawyer Association and the Union for Civil Liberty yesterday issued a joint statement calling on all parties to be careful when giving interviews about the double murder case, as they might be affecting the legal and human rights of the victims and the suspects.

Police and public investigators also need to protect the rights of defendants or suspects in the line of their duty, the statement said.

It also called on the media in Thailand to strictly observe professional ethics, especially when it comes to protecting the victims' rights.

Extra caution is required to ensure their reports do not vilify suspects or defendants, especially if they end up being finally acquitted or proven not guilty, as no compensation can be provided for damaged reputations.

Both agencies also called on members of the Thai media and their regulatory bodies to keep checking on one another and maintaining a balance.

The detention of the two suspects was yesterday extended for another 12 days after the first 12-day period ended after the Surat Thani court accepted the public prosecutors' plea against granting them bail.