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A report yesterday in the Myanmar Times suggests that the legal team of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the two men convicted of the murders of British Hannah Witheridge and David Miller are optimistic about a favourable appeal following a recent announcement from the presiding Thai Court.
The Myanmar Times article is based on a report from the court that has announced that no further extensions will be granted to the prosecution who have delayed the hearing of the appeal nine times since it was lodged in May this year.
The prosecution has been given until November 10th to reply to the defendants appeal. The article suggests that because, so far, no such action has been taken a favourable outcome is possible. It goes on to say that U Aung Myo Thant, a legal advisor from the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand said that if the prosecution did not provide any reply to the appeal by the November 10th deadline Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo would have a strong change of a favourable outcome, given that the court would have to consider the points made in the defendants appeal without rebuttal from the prosecution.
“We don’t know how the court will decide on their sentence but it may well be changed if the prosecutor does not make any reply to our appeal. Our appeal is strong and points out many weak points in the prosecution’s case that suggest that the crimes may not have been carried out by these two Myanmar migrant workers,” said U Aung Myo Thant.
U Sein Htay, chair of the Migrant Worker Rights Network, was similarly optimistic concerning the defendants’ prospects.
“If the prosecutor does not lodge a reply to the appeal, this could be a good sign for Zaw and Phyo,” he said. He added that this would mean that the court would be forced to consider the points made in the appeal from only one perspective.
However there is little to suggest that the prosecution will not reply to the appeal by the given date and therefore such optimism could be misplaced.