MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Amnesty International on Wednesday challenged Thai authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent inquiry into the alleged torture of two suspects reportedly accused of murdering two British tourists in September, ABC News reports.
The Human rights group has been closely following the investigation of the murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, whose bodies were found on the 15th of September on the island of Koh Tao. Public pressure has urged law enforcement to find the culprits as soon as possible, since the notorious crime could deliver the last blow to the Thai tourist industry, already crippled due to the recent coup and lasting social instability.
Last Friday Thai police arrested two Myanmar migrants named Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun. They later confessed to killing the Britons. However, on Tuesday their lawyer accused the police of securing false confessions to the charges and also torturing his defendants. “Police threatened to electrocute them and said that no worse thing would happen to them if they confessed. So, they finally confessed as they saw no hope,” barrister Aung Myo Thant was quoted as saying by The Irrawaddy.
Richard Bennet, Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific Programme director, issued a statement demanding “an independent, effective and transparent investigation into mounting allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by police”.
Sanitsuda Ekachal, author for a popular Thai newspaper Bangkokpost, underscores that “overwhelming public scepticism was not caused solely by the police's poor handling of the investigation, which became an international farce, but more significantly, stems from the police's longstanding notoriety for arresting poor and powerless scapegoats to save rich criminals who can afford to buy their innocence”.
In their turn, Thailand’s national Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung gathered a press-conference to sweep away all accusations, defending the policemen and voicing evidence which “could not be denied,” as The Telegraph conveys.