Chin Progressive Party Questions Koh Tao verdict

The Chin Progressive Party (CPP) issued a four-point statement concerning the death sentence handed down last month to two Arakanse migrant workers on trial for the murder of two British backpackers on the Thai island of Koh Tao. The strongly worded statement was sent to the Thai Embassy in Rangoon and the Privy Council of Thailand.

“Regarding Thailand’s Koh Samui Provincial Court, they had to give the ruling based on how the case was built. We have seen a lot of national issues involved with the ruling. Thailand has been making its main income with tourism. So, they have used Burma as a scapegoat by claiming that Thai people didn’t commit the murder in order not to lose face in the world,” explained the CPP's General Secretary U Shane Tun (also spelled Shein Tun).

Shane Tun wants Burma's government to ensure that the two accused are able to get justice. “What we want is for the government to take responsibility for its citizens and be held accountable. A new foreign policy needs to be practiced. During the Revolutionary Council administration, a non-aligned policy was practiced. Now, it’s time to focus on this and change it,” he explained.

In their statement the CPP urged the Thai courts to reconsider the convictions because it relied on confessions which the defendants, Ko Zaw Linn and Win Zaw Tun claim were extracted during torture. Another issue mentioned in the letter was the police's handling of the DNA evidence obtained at the scene, which both defense attorneys and Thailand's leading  Forensic pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunan allege was mishandled.

The CPP’s statement also urged the Thai authorities to review its judiciary and reveal the truth after two Burmese nationals were given death penalty late last month following a hotly contested trial.

The CPP are not the only ones to voice their concerns about the case. According to state media the Burmese Military’s Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, sent a formal message to Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, stressing the need to avoid a situation in which the innocent are found guilty.

The CPP won 12 seats in the 2010 national election but was unable to hold on to these seats in the November 2015 election.