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The last four days of the Koh Tao murder trial

Today, with only four days of the Koh Tao murder trial left to go, officials from the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CFIS) will testify for the defense in the Samui Provincial Court. According to Pornthip Rojanasunan, director general of the CIFS, who testified last week, three CIFS members who took part in the process of DNA testing and physical examination of the defendants will take the stand. Two of the members are doctors, one is a laboratory technician.

After a request from the defenses team the chief judge allowed Porntip to re-test the hoe that is said to be the murder weapon. Of the two DNA samples she found on the hoe, one complete and one partial, neither matched those of the defendants who continue to insist they are innocent of the crimes.

According to news reports Nakhon Chomphucaht, a lawyer for the defense team, an Australian DNA collection expert will testify in court tomorrow.

The police and public prosecutor have used DNA test results as evidence against Zaw Lin and Wei Phyo during the trial saying that samples taken from the female victims body match that of the accused. The defense has said that they need to focus on whether the DNA in that evidence was collected in line with international standards.

It is thought that on Thursday members of the National Human Rights Commission and the Lawyers Council of Thailand will testify in court about the human rights issues surrounding the treatment of the two Burmese migrant workers accused of the crimes. On Friday the court is expecting to hear testimony from the Myanmar Embassy highlighting the communication barrier between the accused and the interpreter used by the police during their investigation. The interpreter is of a different ethnic group to the accused and one that has been unfriendly towards the group the defendants belong to.

The defendant’s mothers were again in court today and will continue to support their sons during the final days of the trial. They have been in Koh Samui since the second week of the trial that has at times evoked emotional reactions from the widowed women who have found the trial very harrowing. Both believe their sons are innocent of the crimes and that justice will prevail. Unable to speak or understand Thai both woman have had trouble following exactly what has been going on but have had help from a Burmese translator and continue to be supported by members of the Burmese and ex-pat community.

Although Friday will mark the end of the trial, it could be some time before a verdict is read. One news report suggested that information from a “highly-placed source” suggests that the court would probably take a long time to reach a verdict as it would need to examine further evidence. No mention was made as to whether that evidence would come from the prosecution or the defense.

The accused continue to put on a brave face and are confident in the justice system they believe will not let them down. Having now spent three weeks shy of a year in prison, support from a local group, visits from their mothers and letters of support from around the world have helped keep their moral high. Their biggest worries being that during their incarceration they have been unable to send funds to their families who have previously been supported by their employment on the island of Koh Tao where the murders took place in September last year.

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