Koh Tao Murder Convicts File Final Appeal

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo during police conference on Koh Tao on 10 October 2014.

BANGKOK — A lawyer representing two Burmese men convicted of killing two British tourists on Koh Tao three years ago filed a final appeal Monday on their behalf.

For the alleged murders, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death on Christmas Eve of 2015, a sentence upheld by the appeals court earlier this year. Their lawyer, Nakhon Chomphuchat, hopes the verdict will be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found dead on the popular island on September 2014. Police said they were murdered by a garden hoe, and Witheridge was raped before she was killed.

The case drew widespread attention from local and global media, not only because the murders took place on a tourist destination long known as an idyllic diving spot, but also because defense lawyers and some migrant activists accuse police of framing the two Burmese men as “scapegoats.”

But police said evidence against the two men was incontrovertible, including DNA samples that police said tied the suspects to the crime. The defense said the evidence was mishandled and tainted.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo are currently being held at a maximum security prison in Bangkok. In a 2016 interview, they insisted on their innocence.