#Koh #Tao #Murder #Case #Legal #Defense #Team#Closing #Statement

Press Release: 26th October 2015

Koh Tao Murder Case Legal Defense Team Submits 56 Page
Closing Statement as Opinion for Koh Samui Court to Consider

For further enquiries on this press release, please contact:
1. K. Nakhon Chompuchat (Head Defense Team Lawyer nakhonct@gmail.com +66(0)818 473086)
2. Mr. Andy Hall (MWRN International Affairs Advisor andyjhall1979@gmail.com +66(0)846 119209)
3. Ko Sein Htay (MWRN President kzlinn.sein@gmail.com +66(0)946 792478)

A team of pro-bono lawyers working under the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) to defend two Myanmar migrant workers accused of the rape and murder of a female British tourist and the murder of a British male tourist on Koh Tao Island, Thailand in September 2014 today submitted a 56 page closing statement as an opinion for Koh Samui Court to consider in issuing a judgement in the case. The written statement is the final part of a one year effort by a core team of 7 Thai lawyers supported by Burmese, Australian and British translators, assistants and advisors to ensure a fair trial and adequate defense for the accused. Case witness testimony that ended on 11th October 2015 after 21 days of witness hearings involving 34 witnesses and thousands of pages of evidence has already been widely publicised by the media. Koh Samui Court has appointed both parties to the case on 24th December 2015 to hear a verdict.

Hannah Witheridge (23) and David Miller (24) were murdered on 15th September 2014 on Koh Tao, a tourist island in the Gulf of Thailand. The murder investigation was widely criticised both domestically and internationally due to alleged mishandling of forensic evidence and alleged torture both of the two accused and migrant workers living on Koh Tao Island. The challenges faced to Thailand’s law enforcement and justice systems in this case also cast a serious shadow over the safety of tourism in Thailand.

On 2nd October 2014, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo (Win Zaw Htun), 22 year old migrant workers from Rakhine state in Myanmar, were arrested for immigration offences. Additional charges were then laid against them during questioning for rape, murder and theft related to the killings of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller. The two accused signed confessions during interrogation and also publicly and during questioning re-enacted the crimes.

On 14th October, at a first advance witness hearing in the case, both accused then retracted their confessions to LCT lawyers. Later on defense lawyers received information that the two accused alleged beatings and torture were used during their detention, prior to sending on for questioning by investigation officials, to elicit their confessions made involuntarily. The Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) and rights groups called on the LCT to provide trained lawyers for the accused to ensure they could adequately defend themselves against all the charges so as to ensure a fair trial and also importantly to guard against a potential miscarriage of justice in such a highly publicised and tragic case.

A two month delay in prosecuting the accused resulted from extensive media and diplomatic attention towards the case in addition to calls for justice by the accused, their families and the wider public. This resulted in further questioning of the accused that confirmed that both maintained their complete innocence and insisted their confessions came about involuntary as a result of torture. Multiple criminal charges were then filed against Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo on 4th December 2014 by the Koh Samui prosecutor at Koh Samui Court. The judges heeded calls for adequate time to prepare a thorough defense for the accused and, after a number of preliminary evidence exchange hearings, a 21-day trial eventually commenced on 8th July 2015. Continue reading “#Koh #Tao #Murder #Case #Legal #Defense #Team#Closing #Statement”

#MWRN #က အြန္လိုင္းကေန အလွဴခံေပးပါမယ္။ ေအာက္မွာေဖၚျပထားတဲ့လင့္ခ္ကတဆင့္ #ခရက္ဒစ္ကဒ္မွတဆင့္ အလွဴထည့္၀င္နိုင္ပါတယ္။

ထိုင္းေရွ႕ေနမ်ားေကာင္စီနဲ႔ အမႈလိုက္မယ့္ ေရွ႕ေနအဖြဲ႕ေခါင္းေဆာင္တို႔ရဲ႕ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္အရ ေကာ့ေတာင္လူသတ္မႈအတြက္ အမႈစားရိတ္ကို MWRN က အြန္လိုင္းကေန အလွဴခံေပးပါမယ္။ ေအာက္မွာေဖၚျပထားတဲ့လင့္ခ္ကတဆင့္ ခရက္ဒစ္ကဒ္မွတဆင့္ အလွဴထည့္၀င္နိုင္ပါတယ္။



#THAILAND #KOH #TAO #CASE #online #fundraising #campaign to #support #defense #costs for #2 #accused #migrants

MWRN has started an online fundraising campaign MWRN to support case defense costs for 2 accused migrants Koh Tao case
MWRN สร้างแคมเปญออนไลน์ระดมทุนช่วยเหลือการสู้คดีของผู้ต้องสงสัยคดีเกาะเต่า ร่วมบริจาคได้ที่

ထိုင္းေရွ႕ေနမ်ားေကာင္စီနဲ႔ အမႈလိုက္မယ့္ ေရွ႕ေနအဖြဲ႕ေခါင္းေဆာင္တို႔ရဲ႕ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္အရ ေကာ့ေတာင္လူသတ္မႈအတြက္ အမႈစားရိတ္ကို MWRN က အြန္လိုင္းကေန အလွဴခံေပးပါမယ္။ ေအာက္မွာေဖၚျပထားတဲ့လင့္ခ္ကတဆင့္ ခရက္ဒစ္ကဒ္မွတဆင့္ အလွဴထည့္၀င္နိုင္ပါတယ္။


It’s easy to donate money to accused prisoners like Zaw Linn/Win Zaw Tun. . just go to the Samui prison, tell the officials the name of the prisoners (Zaw Linn/Win Zaw Tun – Koh Tao case) and donate the money with copy of your ID card of passport. A receipt will be issued and the prisoners notified that funds have been deposited for them. Yesterday the guys used the money donated for first time as they bought some snacks to eat

NO JOKE : According to Samui prison records until now, Myanmar embassy had donated 500 baht (US$17) each to Zaw Linn/Win Zaw Htun for use in prison.


#THAILAND #ANDY #HALL #DEEP #CONCERN #Koh #Tao #murder #case ….

10471253_1542070106025366_7653329707015947564_nExpressing deep concern at this stage with the ongoing public announcements by individuals gaining access to the accused on guilty or innocent status of 2 Koh Tao murder case accused migrants. Voluntary and consensual confidential Thai lawyer and Myanmar accused client relationship now crucial to ensuring the accused can access a fair trial in this publicly debated case. In most normal cases (of which now this clearly is not), trained criminal lawyers would now surely be advising their clients to stay silent. Public suspicion will go on but lawyers need space to work. Guilt/innocence in Koh Tao case will crucially be decided eventually by the courts based on all facts and testimony presented to them and not by police, prosecutors or the general public. Capable and skilled lawyers must now crucially be given time and space to focus on confidential case defense preparation with the accused, having competent and reliable translation assistance at all times, if the accused are to be assured a fair trial. The accused must crucially be supported to make consensual and informed decisions about their lawyers, defence strategy and the nature of public statements made on their case as much as is possible.


I am confused. Who is taking care of them to participate in that legal process wisely??If they are not advised..Which legal team? Is it paid?..

Andy Hall : You ask the very important question Htwe Than, defending these guys properly is not about media statements but about skilled criminal Thai lawyers. This is Thai court system needing practicing skilled and independent thai lawyers


It’s important the 2 Koh Tao migrant murder suspects receive a fair trial, have access to independent/skilled defense lawyers and are provided with trusted and quality translators. This is important whatever they may have or may have not done.
Working with a multi-disciplinary team we will all seek to contribute to a process whereby justice is done and seen to be done in Koh Tao murder case by working to ensure the accused receive a fair trial.
Whilst we cant respond all emails and offers of assistance, if you or your colleagues think you can assist us to achieve our goals in ensuring justice is done and seen to be done in this case, please do contact my gmail account username andyjhall1979


Thailand allows Myanmar migrant workers to extend visa

Myanmar has reached an agreement with the Thai Ministry of Labour to allow Myanmar migrant workers residing in Thailand for four years to re-enter the country after staying one month in Myanmar, according to the Migrant Worker Rights Network.

The original agreement between Myanmar and Thailand signed in 2003 stated that Myanmar migrant workers with temporary passports were limited to four years in Thailand and were required to return home for three years before returning to Thailand.


Many migrant workers ended up staying illegally after their visas expired and have been facing exploitations, the announcement from the Migrant Worker Rights Network said.

The Migrant Worker Rights Network, Thai Labor Solidarity Committee, and the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand met with Thai Ministry of Labour on Sunday on the future of Myanmar migrant workers who have reached the four-year visa limit, according to the announcement.

“The workers will face difficulties like in the past if they overstay and become illegal workers after their visas have expired.

ccording to the former system, those who didn’t want to return home will stay here and they will face difficulties. So, now the migrant workers can have ‘peace of mind’ when they only have to stay one month [in Myanmar] instead of three years,” said Ko Tun from the Thailand-based Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN).

The announcement stated that Pravit Khiengpol, the Director General of Thai Ministry of Labour made the announcement at the meeting with MWRN on September 1.

Migrant workers can have their visas extended in Mae Sot, Mae Sai, Ranong, and Kanchanaburi.

Pravit Khiengpol was quoted as saying in the announcement that the Thai Ministry of Labour will arrange for the migrant workers to return only after they show documents for having reached an agreement with their employers for salaries, work hours, and social welfare allowances.

The Thai Ministry will release details about this issue on September 5.–


Diplomatic efforts by the Myanmar government to resolve the continuing migrant labour crisis with Thailand af failed so far and according to some observers,  workers coming back home could face lack of employment opportunities in Burma.


Four-year work visas held by up to 100,000 Burmese migrant workers in Thailand have expired or are close to ending, and the Bangkok government has sent confused signals about the workers’ fate. Tens of thousands more visas will expire during 2014.

Up to 100,000 Burmese workers could face Expulsion From Thailand



2013 International Labor Rights Award goes to Burmese Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN)

23-may 2013
International Labor Rights Forum

Washington, D.C. – The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) will honor the Burmese Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN) and the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Federation (SERC) with the 2013 International Labor Rights Award for their groundbreaking work in defending migrant workers in Thailand. The ILRF’s International Labor Rights Award is given annually to recognize the significant contributions of labor rights advocates toward achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.

Migrant workers from the neighboring countries of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos make up an estimated 10 percent of Thailand’s labor force, particularly in labor intensive export industries like seafood processing, agriculture, garment manufacturing, construction and domestic care. Many of these workers are trafficked into the country by labor brokers and are often subjected to labor exploitation. Horrible working conditions, including under and non-payment of wages, violations of minimum wage laws, long overtime hours, dangerous and unsanitary work environments and the denial of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights are common. Worse still, instances of debt bondage, forced labor and child labor are known to be widespread in these industries.
In 2009 migrant workers from Myanmar employed in Thailand’s seafood processing sector formed MWRN to address issues relating to human trafficking, forced labor, child labor, and other labor rights violations. With assistance from Mr. Sawit Kaevwarn, ILRF award recipient and the Secretary General of SERC, Mr. Aung Kyaw, ILRF award recipient and the President of MWRN, has grown MWRN into the largest grassroots member-based migrant worker association in Thailand.
Over the last three years, MWRN has courageously exposed labor rights violations at seafood processing facilities producing for the largest U.S. retailers, welcomed noble peace prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi on her first overseas trip in 24 years to Mahachai, Samutsakorn Province in Thailand, and advocated for major reforms to Thailand’s immigration laws.
Although migrant workers cannot legally form a union in Thailand, the collaboration between SERC and MWRN has helped bridge the gap between the traditional union movement in Thailand and the struggles of migrant workers. SERC and MWRN have successfully established a “Humanitarian Transportation Project” to enable Myanmar migrant workers to visit their hometowns securely with the Cooperation of Transport Co, Ltd. Furthermore, SERC under the leadership of Mr. Kaevwarn has filed a petition with the International Labour Organization alleging that the denial of work accident compensation to migrant workers by the Government of Thailand is a clear breach of ILO Convention 19.
“MWRN is on its way to becoming a globally recognized representative of migrant workers on issues relating to trafficking, forced labor and other labor rights abuses in Thailand,” said Judy Gearhart, Executive Director of ILRF. “We are committed to standing with MWRN and supporting the organizations work in the future.”
INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM (ILRF) is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.