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Myanmar men appeal death sentences for murders of Britons in Thailand.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo


Two migrant workers from Myanmar on Monday appealed their death sentences for the 2014 murders of two British tourists on the popular Thai resort island of Koh Tao to the Supreme Court, their lawyer told dpa.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 22, were sentenced to death in December 2015. Their lawyers appealed the verdict last year, citing a lack of hard evidence, but an appeal court upheld the death sentences in February.

Although the families of the two British victims reportedly welcomed the verdicts, the death sentences triggered a backlash in neighbouring Myanmar, where critics say that the workers were scapegoats and that the trial was flawed.

'There were many things wrong with the prosecution - ranging from torturing the defendants to confess to denying them lawyers, as well as the incompleteness of evidence and witness testimony,' said the migrants' lawyer Nakhon Chomphuchat.

The badly beaten bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found in September 2014 on a beach on Koh Tao, an island popular with divers 650 kilometres south of Bangkok.

The two Myanmar men were also found guilty of raping Witheridge.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether to accept the appeal later Monday, Nakhon said.

The murders have marred Koh Tao's image as a laidback haven for backpackers, with the expat community dubbing it 'death island.' Its image was further tarnished when a 27-year-old Belgian tourist was found dead in April, hanging from a tree. Police ruled the incident a suicide.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Aug 21, 2017
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