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Update – while in court today emotional scenes were witnessed in the courtroom as parents/family of Zaw Lin/Wei Phyo (Koh Tao accused) held and clung to their sons during the hearing. Zaw Lin’s produced his passport in response to the prosecutors charge of illegal stay in Thailand, he was lawfully residing in Thailand at time of his arrest. Zaw Lin and Wei Phyo’s words written in Koh Samui court today: ‘Before during the case investigation we had no chance or right to prove/speak out our innocence/the truth. We are victims of influential people. Koh Samui court head judge just asked both Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo: ‘If u not involved in this crime, tell us who is. Don’t be scared.’ Zaw Lin/Wei Phyo both replied strongly to the judge’s question: ‘We really don’t know. We were drunk, just went back home. We know nothing.’ Prosecution witness hearings set as 8th July to 28th August 2015. Defense witness hearings set as 1st September to 25th September 2015.
The trial for the Koh Tao backpackers murders began today on Koh Samui against Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun who stand accused of seven charges, including the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, and the rape of Witheridge. The Burmese pair have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are widely believed to be Scapegoats in the case. The trial was due to begin in February but was unexpectedly brought forward, the accused arrived in court today, their families and Myanmar monks also attended the first day of the trial when it is expected that the defense lawyers will prepare to request the court to postpone hearing as documents/witness issues have not been satisfactorily prepared due to lack of time.
Burma’s government and upper house of parliament have pledged to provide financial and moral support to Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, who are due in court on Friday to face charges of murdering two British tourists on the Thai island of Koh Tao.
Htoo Chit, one of the members of a delegation organised by the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, said, “On 19 December, we met with representatives of the upper house and they pledged to provide all necessary assistance, including financial support. Afterwards, we met with representatives of the President’s Office in Naypyidaw, led by deputy-minister U Aung Thein, and they offered to help us find witnesses by writing to local governments where they might live.”
He said most of the potential witnesses reside in southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division.