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Koh Tao murders – Myanmar men’s appeal goes to the Supreme Court

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the two Myanmar men convicted of killing British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, have had their final appeal against the conviction submitted to the Supreme Court in Bangkok.

While the brutal murders on Koh Tao, that has since been nicknamed Death Island, shocked the world, the conviction of the two men sparked a social media frenzy as hundreds of thousands of people around the world took to their computers to question their guilt. Migrant rights groups have accused the police of bungling the investigation and failing to properly seal off the crime scene. Photos of numerous unauthorised people entering the scene are freely available on the internet. Disturbingly photographs of the victims are also freely available, leading many to question why those involved in the investigation saw them fit to publish online. During the trial investigators handing the case were accused by the defence team of failing to properly collect and test DNA samples from the scene of the crime. A leading Australian DNA expert has also questioned the handling of the DNA samples.

The two men, who were sentenced to death for the crimes on 24th of December 2015 initially confessed to the crimes but later said they were tortured and forced to confess without any legal representative being present. Neither men have any previous convictions and say they were in Koh Tao simply to earn money for their impoverished families back home. The general consensus of opinion around the world is that they were used as scapegoats to protect the real perpetrator who is widely believed to be part of an influential family on the island. Since the deaths of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller many other backpackers have died mysteriously on the island which only adds to the intense online speculation.

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