Author-ASIA & PACIFIC
The decision to sentence the two Myanmar bar workers in 2015 was controversial after rights groups claimed the pair were used as scapegoats by authorities under pressure to solve the crime quickly.
Two migrant workers who were sentenced to death for the murder of British backpackers on the Thai tourist island of Koh Tao have had their sentences upheld by Thailand’s supreme court.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, both 22 years old, were found guilty in December 2015 of the rape and murder of 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge from Norfolk and the murder of 24-year old David Miller from Jersey. Police said Witheridge had been raped and bludgeoned to death and Miller had suffered blows to his head.
Thai law allows 60 days for those sentenced to death to seek a pardon, but if the request is dismissed an execution can go ahead.
“We will petition for royal pardon within 60 days so they would not be executed,” defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchart told reporters.
Despite both men initially admitting to the murder in 2015, motivated by sexual jealousy after seeing the pair together, they later retracted their statements claiming that they had been made under pressure. Both men were subsequently convicted and sentenced to death in 2015, a verdict upheld by an appeal court in 2017.