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Zaw Lin, one of the two migrant workers charged with the Koh Tao murders took the stand in Koh Samui Provincial court today, 2nd September 2015, a day later than expected. After twelve days of prosecution evidence one further day was required for the testimony of a senior police officer who took the stand on the 1st of September in a hearing that did not close until 1.02am.
The court session, due to reconvene at 10am today got underway at 10-30. In front of a packed court room including members of both Hannah Witheridge and David Millers family. 22 year old Zaw Lin faced the judges with a translator to his left. Giving his testimony in Burmese the accused was questioned by the defense team on his movements on the night of the murders.
Bar worker Zaw Lin seemed confident in delivering his testimony despite the stressful situation. His mother as well as the mother of his co-accused Wei Phyo, were also in the court room.
After initially confessing to the crime, both Zaw Lin and Wei Phyo, both from Rakhine State, retracted their confessions claiming their admission of guilt was the result of torture. Although the police strenuously deny any allegations of torture a cell mate of the accused testified he had seen wounds on the accused bodies and Zaw Lin was taken to Samui Hospital complaining of chest pains after his incarceration. The court also heard that the accused were initially questioned by the police via translators from Myanmar who do not speak the Rakhine dialect or have full comprehension of the Thai language. The witnesses for the prosecution have largely been police officers. DNA linking the pair to the crime has also been presented, however leading Thai pathologist Porntip Rojanansund, has been highly critical of the way the forensic investigation was conducted, she is due to take the stand later this month.
The trial that started on the 8th of July, will break once again after today’s hearing, originally due to reconvene on the 22nd of September the 11th has now been earmarked as an additional date for the defense team.