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Burmese enter their third year in prison for the Koh Tao murders

Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin, the two Burmese men convicted for the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller in Koh Tao in 2014 are facing their third year behind bars at the notorious Bangkwang Central Prison, AKA The Bangkok Hilton.

Wai Phyo Zaw LinThe 22 year old men, who to this day profess their innocence, are housed in the Death Row wing of the prison.

The Burmese Migrant Workers say they hope that freedom is not a long way away. The men, who originally confessed to the crimes later said they were tortured into a confession. While on remand the men were housed in the Samui Provincial Prison, after their conviction they were moved to Nakhon Si THammarat before being taken to death row in Bangkok.

Both men had a lot of support during their incarceration in Samui and regularly received visits from a small group of ex-pats, a Burmese representative of the Migrant Workers Rights Network and for a few months their mothers. Now in Bangkwang they still receive visits from two members of the Samui community, a concerned lady in Bangkok who has closely followed their case and a handful of Burmese supporters. The men also receive dozens of letters from around the globe each month, they have both expressed their gratitude for the support and have said that knowing they are not forgotten has given them strength. The men also have support from a solicitor in Perth AusZaw Lin in courttralia.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo maintain that they never met the victims of the Koh Tao murders and had no motive to kill or rape. They cling on to the hope that they will be released after the appeal, despite that appeal being made to Region 8 and the same judges who handed them down the death sentence. If that appeal fails their last hope prior to execution will be the Supreme Court where they can appeal once more. However that process could take up to 7 years.

As the enter their third year behind bars both men are starting to show signs of despair, unable to stay in contact with their mothers, having little support from the Burmese Embassy and often being left in the dark as to what is going on with their case they often find hope in short supply. However both men have expressed thanks to those who continue to support them financially and report that they have been treated well in the prison.

Although the case has lost a lot of momentum over the last two years supporters hope that by keeping the story alive in the press somebody somewhere may be able to help them. One supporter said, “its vial that these men are not forgotten, I just hope somebody out there somewhere will find a key to the cell that stops them finding justice. “

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