BANGKOK – Two migrant workers originally from Myanmar who were spending time on death row in Thailand for the 2014 murder of two British backpackers on the island of Koh Tao had their sentences commuted to life in prison on Friday thanks to a royal decree from His Royal Majesty the King, their lawyer said this morning to associated press.
The two migrant workers who were named as Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, were sentenced to death for the murder of David Miller and the murder and rape of Hannah Witheridge, whose bodies were discovered on a beach on the tourist island of Koh Tao in September 2014.
The Pattaya News notes the case captivated the media and the public, with many having doubts that the men were the individuals responsible for the crime and with some questioning if the men were scapegoats for someone else. Thai Law Enforcement officials, however, stood by their stance that they had captured the right men.
The two men were convicted and sentenced originally in 2015 and the verdict was upheld by an appeals court in 2017 and the Supreme Court in August 2019. All three court sessions were widely discussed and debated on social media.
Their sentences will be reduced to life imprisonment after a royal pardon decree was published on Friday in the Royal Gazette by His Royal Majesty the King, their lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat stated to Associated Press this morning, August 15, 2020.
The decree that was originally published on Friday stated the royal pardons were granted to commemorate His Royal Majesty the King’s birthday on July 28.
The men are also eligible to have further reductions of their sentence based on good behavior, their lawyer added, in accordance with Thai law. Life sentences in Thailand are generally reduced based on a variety of factors.