Lawyer's Council mulls defending murder suspects

Lawyer's Council mulls defending murder suspects

The Lawyers Council of Thailand is expected to decide today whether it will assign lawyers to assist in the case of the two Myanmar men accused of murder on Koh Tao.

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, 21-year-old migrant workers, have been accused by police of the rape and murders of two English tourists at Koh Tao on Sept 15. They allege they were beaten and forced to confess. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

The Myanmar embassy has also appointed a lawyer to interview the pair, though it is not known if he will help if the matter goes to trial.

Meanwhile, a human rights network is offering the services of prominent lawyer Nakhon Chomphuchat to lead the defence of the two suspects, if they choose to appoint him.

Mr Nakhon said the Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF) has asked him if he would like to represent suspects Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, who face lengthy prison terms if convicted for their alleged murder of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

Several human rights agencies, including CrCF and the Human Rights and Development Foundation, have expressed concern about the treatment of Win and Zaw. If appointed, Mr Nakhon said he would look into his clients' condition, as well as claims the police investigation was improperly carried out. The rights group Amnesty International has suggested the pair were tortured into confessing.

The suspects have been questioned several times without lawyers, he said, adding police were still saying the suspects refused to have a lawyer. Mr Nakhon said he and his team would work with the lawyer's council if they decide to get involved.

Police insist the investigation was fair, and denied reports the suspects were tortured into confessing.

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