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Clemency plea for migrants given death penalty over British backpacker murders

The battered bodies of David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were found on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Tao in 2014.

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were murdered in Thailand in 2014 (PA)
Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were murdered in Thailand in 2014 (PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

The families of two Burmese migrant workers sentenced to death for murdering two British tourists in Thailand in 2014 have appealed to the Thai king to spare their lives.

The mothers of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, accompanied by lawyers and a senior diplomat from Burma’s embassy in Thailand, submitted an official petition for clemency on Thursday at Bang Kwang prison on the outskirts of Bangkok, where the two men are being held.

The two men denied killing David Miller and raping and killing Hannah Witheridge, whose battered bodies were found on a beach on the island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.

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Phyu Shwe Nu, mother of Zaw Lin, and May Thein, mother of Wai Phyo, arrive at Bangkwang prison to petition for a royal pardon for their sons (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

The verdicts were controversial because of allegations that police mishandled evidence and beat the suspects into making confessions.

Human Rights Watch called the verdicts “profoundly disturbing”.

Dressed in traditional clothing, the two mothers — May Thein and Phyu Shwe Nu — said they hoped the king would grant their plea and reduce the punishment to life imprisonment.

“We believe our sons are innocent,” said May Thein, mother of Wai Phyo. “Many people believe the same thing as us.”

PA

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