Burma

Myanmar to Appeal to Thai King on Behalf of 2 Death Row Convicts on Oct. 21

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 9 October 2019

YANGON – Myanmar will this month submit a letter of appeal seeking a Thai royal pardon for two Myanmar workers, Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, who were controversially sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in Bangkok for killing two British backpackers.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Lawyers Council of Thailand would submit a draft of the appeal letter to the Myanmar legal advisory team assisting the convicted men on Oct. 14.

The appeal letter is expected to be submitted to the Thai king on Oct. 21 after the legal team approves it, the Foreign Ministry said.

“The appeal letter will be submitted mainly to appeal for the death sentence to be changed to another sentence,’’ said U Aung Myo Thant, a Myanmar lawyer on the convicted pair’s defense team.

He told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that the appeal letter would acknowledge that there was no chance of changing the final conviction of the Supreme Court, only to alter the sentence.

After taking two years for the final appeal, the Thai Supreme Court in August upheld the death sentence for rape and murder involving the British backpackers on the diving island in 2014.

A royal pardon is the last hope for the two migrants.

In September, about 20 civil society organizations from Myanmar launched an Asia-wide campaign and petition drive at the Asian People’s Forum at Thammasat University in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s military and the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission have made requests for a pardon.

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin were sentenced to death in December 2015 by a Koh Samui court for killing British backpacker David Miller and for raping and murdering Hannah Witheridge.

There has been widespread criticism of the Thai police investigation over alleged mishandling of forensic evidence and the alleged torture of the two suspects to coerce confessions. Migrant workers’ rights specialist Andy Hall in August gave evidence in their defense.

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