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A top National Human Rights Commission official, (NHRC) has threatened to prosecute the Thai police if they refuse to explain the alleged torture of Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin the two Burmese migrant workers accused of the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller in Koh Tao in September. Niran Pitakwatchara the chairman of the organization said that the police failed to show up for a hearing about the alleged torture of the two suspects after they were summoned to explain the allegation at a hearing yesterday. The pair initially admitted to the crime but later recanted their confessions telling their lawyers they confessed under duress. The police say that they refused to the hearing on the grounds that any testimony given to the rights commission may affect the ongoing murder investigation.
However, Niran said the excuse is not valid because the NHRC hearing was not meant to prove whether the suspects are innocent or guilty.
“We have to give fairness to all sides, especially the migrant workers. Otherwise there won’t be justice in our nation. No one will come to work in our country,” Niran told reporters today. “The NHRC is not treating the police as suspects. We are not convening the hearing to accuse them of anything … The hearing is meant to find facts. We don’t want to know who the murderers are.”
If police fail to appear before the NHRC by 12 November, the commission may vote to take legal action against the police in accordance with Section 34 of the law that governs the NHRC’s operation, Niran said.
“Let me stress that the NHRC is not interfering with anyone’s work. We have to do our duty once there’s a complaint. If we don’t, we will be prosecuted for negligence under the criminal laws,” he explained.