Human rights charity Amnesty International has called for a full investigation into whether two men convicted of rape and murder after the deaths of two British backpackers were tortured The bodies of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were discovered on the island of Koh Tao in September last year.

Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, also known as Win Zaw Htun, initially confessed to the murders but later retracted their statements, claiming they had been tortured. Neither of the men - both aged 22 displayed any emotion as they were found guilty of murder and rape and issued with the death penalty. They are set to appeal, their legal team has confirmed.

Amnesty International’s south-east Asia director Champa Patel said the Thai authorities needed to ensure any alleged confession obtained through torture could not be admitted in court. This requires an independent investigation, which the police should certainly not be in charge of.

The Thai police force has a long and disturbing track record of using torture and other forms of ill-treatment to extract ‘confessions’. This is far from an isolated case.
The Thai authorities must start taking concrete steps to stamp out torture, not just paying lip service to doing so.