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Myanmar pair win pardons

by qualityeducation
Myanmar migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun leave after the hearing at the Nonthaburi Provincial Court on Aug 29, 2019. (Reuters photo)

Two Myanmar migrant workers convicted for the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao are said to be among the beneficiaries of a royal pardon granted by His Majesty the King to mark his birthday.

The nation celebrated the king’s 68th birthday last month and it is customary for the monarch to grant clemency to mark the occasion.

A list of would-be royal pardon recipients was published in the Royal Gazette on Friday, including Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, who were sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and the murder of David Miller, 24, on the tourist island in 2014.

According to the Corrections Department, about 40,000 inmates are eligible to be released upon receiving the pardon and 200,000 others are to receive reduced sentences.

Pol Col Naras Savestanan, director-general of the department, confirmed the two are among the beneficiaries, but it is unclear whether they will be released from prison.

The two men were convicted and sentenced in 2015 and the verdict was upheld by an appeals court in 2017 and the Supreme Court in August 2019.

The convictions were mired in controversy with supporters of the two men arguing that they had been framed and that they had initially confessed to the crimes under duress.

“The two are eligible under a section in the royal pardon decree to get their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment,” their lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat told Reuters.

“They will also have a chance to get their sentences reduced further on good behaviour.”

Other high-profile inmates who qualified for reduced sentences include Yongyuth Wichaidit and Plodprasop Suraswadi.

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