Koh Tao protesters face legal action

PHOTO: AFP

Yangon - Protesters against the Koh Tao sentence in front of the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon will face legal action, said Win Shwe from Dagon Township police.

Yangon residents staged protests between December 24 and 30 against the Koh Tao ruling which sentenced two Myanmar migrant workers, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun, to death for seven charges, including killing two British tourists.

"They should have obtained official permission for the protests in advance in accordance with the law. We shall bring them to court under Section 18 [of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law]. Now we're checking who took part in the protests," said the police officer.

About 10 demonstrators gathered near the Thai embassy in the morning of December 28. When the police warned them about the assembly law with a loudspeaker, they disbanded.

But in the afternoon about 50 demonstrators gathered near the embassy, holding banners saying "we want justice" and chanting the national anthem.

Myanmar's army chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, asked for a review of the sentence and expressed his concerns about the verdict in a New Year message to Thailand's junta leaders.

Some political parties and civil society organisations released statements calling for the release of the two workers.

Joining them was Rakhine National Party (RNP). Chairman Aye Maung and 13 MPs signed the letter submitted to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha requesting a review into the Koh Tao ruling.

People in Rakhine State also staged a protest against the verdict, calling for the release of the two migrants. Rakhine youths plan prayer protests on Saturday and Sunday across the state.

"A judicial review should be made. All the news says there were no witnesses to the killing. A person should be punished only when they are convicted with strong evidence," Phay Than from the RNP said.

Taw Phaya, 92, grandson of the last Myanmar king Thibaw, on December 27 also sent a letter requesting the Thai king's help in the review of the verdict.

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