Thai Lawyers Council to appeal Koh Tao murder verdicts

31 December 2015
Thai Lawyers Council to appeal Koh Tao murder verdicts
Buddhist monks and people hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against death sentence for two Myanmar migrant workers in Yangon on 26 December 2015. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

As protests over the death sentences given to two Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand continued, Myanmar's ambassador to Thailand met with the Thai Lawyers Council on Wednesday to seek help for the two men.
Myanmar Ambassador U Win Maung said the case must be appealed and treated fairly.
The Lawyers Council of Thailand president Dej-udom Krairit said the council would work on an appeal for the two migrant workers.
“We will do the best we can…,” he was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post.
An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the first reading of the verdict. The LCT official said the council planned to ask for an extension because more details needed to be gathered regarding the case.
The Myanmar ambassador reportedly said he would ask for his government to provide financial support to the council, pending a report from the lawyer’s association.
The association also plans to seek the court's approval to bring the two men from Surat Thani prison to a jail in Bangkok, to facilitate the legal process.
Since the verdict, five days of protests have taken place in Myanmar and Thailand, and at several Thai embassies abroad.
The bodies of two British backpackers were found on a beach on Koh Tao island last year. Observers at the trial said little concrete evidence was presented by the prosecution and DNA evidence gathered in the case was flawed and inconclusive.
Amnesty International last week called for an independent investigation into allegations that torture was used to get confessions in the case. The two men said they were innocent and gave confessions in fear of their lives. The Thai government denied the torture claims.
Human Rights Watch called for the ruling to be reviewed, in a statement following the verdict.
“In a trial where torture allegations by the two accused were left uninvestigated and DNA evidence was called into question by Thailand's most prominent forensic pathologist, both the ruling and these death sentences are profoundly disturbing,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division.
The Thai embassy in Myanmar issued a warning to Thai residents working in the country to exercise caution when moving about because of “unexpected and prolonged” protests.
(Media reports)