Thai-Myanmar relations ‘not affected’ by Koh Tao verdict, says ambassador

Myanmar’s ambassador to Thailand said today the sentencing of two Myanmar migrant workers to death for the 2014 murders of two young British tourists would not affect diplomatic relations, despite outrage in Myanmar over the ruling.

A Koh Samui court convicted Myanmar migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun yesterday of the murder of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on the holiday island of Koh Tao.

Dozens of police were deployed to guard the Thai embassy in Yangon after the verdicts amid calls on social media for a protest. About 10 people stood outside the embassy in a short-lived protest yesterday, holding placards demanding the release of the two men. Another protest was planned for today.

The verdict followed a trial that saw prosecutors build much of their case around DNA evidence that police said linked the two migrant workers to the crime. Defence lawyers argued that police had mishandled DNA evidence and that the two men were tortured while in detention.

U Win Maung, Myanmar’s Ambassador to Thailand said the verdict would not affect diplomatic ties.

“Everyone who is a human, if they hear that they are getting the death sentence they will be sad, but this is the legal procedure so we have to adhere to the legal procedure,” U Win Maung told reporters in Bangkok after meeting Pannada Diskul, Minister to the Thai Prime Minister’s Office.

“I told Pannada to look after the foundations of relations between countries,” he said. “I very much hope that this case was looked after properly by the Thai government and let me tell you there will no problems affecting diplomatic relations because of this case.”

Pannada said Myanmar had promised to look after Thai tourists in Myanmar who might be targeted following the verdict.

“The ambassador promised that Thai tourists in Myanmar would be well taken care of,” Pannada said.

Thailand has more than 450 prisoners on death row. It has not executed anyone since 2009.

Story: Reuters

Related:

Myanmar people urge protest against Thailand after Koh Tao verdict

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