Burmese Migrant worker sentenced to life in Thai prison

Tue 28 Jul 2009, IMNA
On July 27th, a judge from the Lan Suan court sentenced a Burmese migrant worker to life in prison. The trail began in 2007 after the migrant worker was accused, with two other suspects, of murdering a father and his two daughters.

On February 17th, 2007, a Burmese family was assaulted and murdered in Lamae village in Lan Suan district. The father, a Burmese migrant worker, Nai Toi, was shot in front of his home, and his two daughters, 8 and 12 years old, were stabbed to death. Nai Toi’s wife, Daw Khine, was badly injured and sent to the Lamae village hospital. Nai Toi and his family had been working at the Lamae rubber plantation for 5 years.

The migrant worker sentenced to life, Nai Chai, 26 years-old, and two other workers, Nai Maug Thu, 23 years-old and Kyaw Thu Soe, 20 years-old, were working near the rubber plantation that employed Nai Toi and his family. The three were arrested on February 18th by the Chonphon police. They were accused of having committed the murders, and have been held at the Lamae police station since 2007. They are from Thanphyuzayar township in Mon state and had been working in Thailand without ID’s. “The three Burmese migrant workers (Nai Chai, Mung Thu and Kyaw Thu Soe) families contacted us to help them petition the Lan Suan court,” said Tin Tun Aung, the secretary of migrant rights at the Federation of Trade Unions (FTUB). “There, we [FTUB] and the Law Council of Thailand [LCT], requested that the judges of the Lan Suan court review the case. If the legal team had not gotten involved in this case, the three Burmese migrant workers would possibly receive the death penalty.”

According to FTUB sources, all thee migrant workers were innocent of the crimes they are being accusa of. The FTUB sources claim a local gang robbed and killed the three victims, and that the three men were badly beaten and toured by the police, so that they’d admit that they had killed the victims. However, Nai Toi wife, Daw Khine, stated in court that Nai Chai was involved in the case and killed her family. The Lamae police sent back Daw Khine back to Burma after her testimony before the court hearings were over.

“We requested that the court give compensation to Nai Maung Tun and Kyaw Thu Soe for their having lived in prison for 2 years, as Thai law states,” said Tin Tun Aung. “We also will try to request that the Lan Suan court review Nai Chai’s sentence of life in prison.”

According Nai Chai’s wife who is working in Thailand, her husband didn’t kill Nai Toi or his family. Her family and Nai Toi’s family had a very good relationship. She explained that her husband was drinking with his friend on the night Nai Toi was murdered. She also insisted there was no cause for the murder, “We were working at the Lamae village rubber plantation for 4 years, and we didn’t have conflict with anyone else.”

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