Murder suspects allege Thai police brutality

Suspects claim they were beaten to extract confessions over killing of British pair

Thai police said last week that Win Zaw Htun (left) and Zaw Lin  had confessed to murdering British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on a beach on the island of Koh Tao on September 15th. Photograph: EPA/STR

Thai police said last week that Win Zaw Htun (left) and Zaw Lin had confessed to murdering British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on a beach on the island of Koh Tao on September 15th. Photograph: EPA/STR

 

Two Burmese men accused of murdering two British backpackers in Thailand have alleged that they were beaten by police in order to extract confessions.

Thai police officers threatened the suspects with electrocution during a violent interrogation before the pair agreed to admit to killing Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, according to a Burmese embassy lawyer who spoke to the men today.

Aung Myo Thant told Burmese media that one of the suspects, Win Zaw Htun (21), was beaten by police and an interpreter after initially refusing to admit the murders. “He didn’t confess when he was in the investigation centre,” Aung Myo Thant told the Burmese newspaper Irrawaddy.

“A police officer hit the side of his face and the interpreter also hit him four times. Then police threatened to electrocute [the suspects] and said that no worse thing would happen to them if they confessed. So they finally confessed as they saw no hope.”

The allegations come after three other Burmese migrant workers said they had been assaulted and scalded during a police interrogation. Photographic evidence of their alleged abuse has been passed to British ambassador Mark Kent, as calls grow for an independent inquiry.

Thai police said last week Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin (21) had confessed to murdering Witheridge (23) and Miller (24) on a Koh Tao beach on September 15th. According to an account of their confessions given by police, the suspects bludgeoned Miller and left him to drown before raping and killing Witheridge. – (Guardian service)