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Migrant workers from Myanmar have their murder convictions overturned

On October 28th 2015 four Myanmar citizens Sein Kadone, Wai Lin, Moe Zin Aung and Kyaw Soe Win were arrested and charged with the murder of Thai Orawee Sampaoton, 17 in Ranong. The Ranong provincial court found all four men guilty in April 2018.

Moe Zin Aung and Kyaw Soe Win, who were minors at the time of sentencing received sentences of four and two years respectively, however they were released last year.

On Wednesday Sein Kadone and Wai Lin, who received eight and six year sentences won their appeal after spending three years and eight months in jail.

Since the day they were arrested the men’s families and those who have followed the case have claimed all four men were forced to confess under torture and were used as scapegoats in the murder case.

The men, who were fishermen, seldom spent time on land and defence lawyers were able to present key pieces of evidence  that included DNA, CCTV footage and an alibi provided by their employer.

U Min Oo, a migrant rights advocate at the Foundation for Education Development (FED) that this case highlights the way Myanmar migrants have become easy scapegoats for violent crimes in Thailand.

The Ranong murder occurred about a year after two other Myanmar migrants were arrested for the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on Koh Tao. Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were handed down the death penalty and are awaiting the outcome of their appeal from death row in Thailand’s notorious Bangkwang prison. It is believed both within Thailand and globally that the two men, commonly referred to as the B2, are innocent and were also used as scapegoats.

 U Min Oo said that his legal team helped on both cases and he hopes for good news on the Koh Tao island case as well.

Wai Lin and Sein Kadone are set to head home to Myanmar on Tuesday.

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