Migrants to stand trial for British tourist murders in Thai
Thai prosecutors today said two Myanmar men will stand trial for the brutal killing of a pair of British holidaymakers on a tourist resort after finally accepting murder charges against them.
Bangkok: Thai prosecutors today said two Myanmar men will stand trial for the brutal killing of a pair of British holidaymakers on a tourist resort after finally accepting murder charges against them.
Police originally charged the two migrant workers with the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, in October, citing DNA tests and later confessions by the pair to the crime on the diving island of Koh Tao.
But Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun, both in their 20s, later retracted their confessions, alleging they were obtained under duress, raising concerns over the probity of the investigation.
Prosecutors on nearby Koh Samui, where the pair are being held, had for several weeks repeatedly rejected the police file on the case, saying it was incomplete.
But today they agreed to finally indict the suspects for trial.
"They (the two suspects) were charged with intentional murder," Paiboon Archavanuntakun, Koh Samui's chief prosecutor, told AFP.
"Tomorrow afternoon (Thursday), the order will be submitted to the Koh Samui provincial court," he said.
"There will then be a trial," he added, without giving details of a timeframe.
The start of court proceedings will come as a blow to the men and their families, who have made impassioned appeals in Myanmar and Thailand for their release.
Rights campaigners in Thailand insist the pair have been made scapegoats for a vicious crime which appeared to initially stretch the capacity of police.
The murders, which occurred in September on a normally tranquil island, also cast a long shadow over the nation's reputation as a tourist haven, prompting the Thai junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha to vow to swiftly bring the killers to justice.
Alarmed by the initial handling of the probe -- which saw reporters allowed to trample all over the crime scene among a slew of apparent bungles -- a team of British detectives visited Thailand in November to review the investigation.
They are yet to reveal their findings.