More detention for Koh Tao duo

More detention for Koh Tao duo

Indictment by Thursday: Prosecutor

Two Myanmar nationals charged with murdering two British backpackers on Koh Tao will be detained for at least 12 more days as prosecutors continue to prepare their indictment.

The Samui provincial court on Tuesday approved the sixth detention order for Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo for 12 days after their previous detention order expired, said Thawatchai Siangjaew, director-general of the Public Prosecution Office Region 8.

The detention order became necessary after prosecutors held off on indicting the pair on charges they killed Britons Hannah Witheridge and David Miller Sept 15, raped Witheridge and entered the Thailand illegally.

Mr Thawatchai said prosecutors are expected to decide on the indictment by Thursday after reviewing additional evidence submitted by police Monday. All the evidence, including DNA results and witness accounts, are sufficient to indict them, he added.

The two have been detained at Samui Prison since early October after police charged them with killing the couple on Koh Tao's Sairee beach in Surat Thani province. But suspects can be detained on no more than seven orders for a total 84 days before they are required to be released, according to Thai law.

On Tuesday, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo released an open letter -- handwritten in Myanmar -- appealing for new witnesses or anyone with evidence not yet seen to come forward and share the information with their lawyers.

"This will really assist us in our defence and ensure justice is done for us, our family and the family of the victims," they wrote. "Please don't be scared to assist us at our time of need."

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo initially confessed to the charges but later retracted the admissions claiming they were tortured and threatened with death if they didn't confess.

The Lawyers Council of Thailand and National Human Rights Commission is working with lawyers from the Myanmar embassy to contest the charges. The Myanmar government has called for a fair trial for their citizens.


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