NHRC to investigate torture claim

NHRC to investigate torture claim

The National Human Rights Commission will on Monday summon authorities involved in the investigation of two murdered British tourists after a pair of Myanmar suspects said they were tortured into confessing.

National Human Rights Commissioner Nirun Pitakwatchara yesterday said Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin had told the commission on Oct 13 their confessions were obtained through torture, though it was unclear when the alleged torture occurred.

Mr Nirun said no evidence of torture was found on the suspects after officials assigned by the commission examined them on Oct 13.

However, Zaw Lin told the officials he had pains in his chest and the commission ordered him to undergo an X-ray.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Lawyers Association and the Union for Civil Liberties yesterday said the families of the suspects and victims are entitled to privacy.

Since the investigation is still ongoing, the alleged offenders must enjoy the right to presumed innocence until a final verdict is reached, they said.

Prosecutors have delayed the Myanmar suspects' indictment as they are awaiting further evidence from the victims' families, said Pol Col Prachum Ruangthong, superintendent of Phangan police station.

The additional evidence, including the confirmation of the victims' telephone numbers and history of their telephone use, has been requested from England, Pol Col Prachum said yesterday.

The phone records were not sought by Thai authorities during their investigation. 

The superintendent said the parents of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller have been informed of their legal entitlement to file civil and criminal lawsuits with Thai courts.

He denied he had been approached by British officials asking to observe the investigation.

British police cannot take part in the investigation process, but they are able to observe court hearings, he said.

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