Death sentence for Myanmar men prompts anti-Thai protest
Death sentence for Myanmar men prompts anti-Thai protest

[JURIST] Hundreds gathered in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city Friday to protest [Reuters report], the day after a Thai court sentenced two Myanmar migrant workers to death for the 2014 murders of two British tourists. The verdict resulted from a trial built around DNA evidence that linked the two workers to the crime. The defense argued the DNA was mishandled and the two men were tortured while in detention. The killings damaged Thailand’s reputation as an enjoyable tourist destination and raised questions over its justice system. Thailand’s Ambassador believes [Reuters report] the verdict will not harm diplomatic ties. Activists claim that Myanmar migrant workers are victims of ill treatment in Thailand, in this case innocent workers are being victimized.

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called for [AI report] a thorough investigation into torture allegations levied against the police responsible for the arrest of the men. In its own investigation, the Thai National Human Rights Commission [official website] found the defendants’ allegations of torture to be credible. Human rights groups worldwide have expressed growing concern over Thailand’s governmental impunity since it became a military junta in May 2014. Last month, Human Rights Watch said that a proposed provision [JURIST report] in Thailand’s constitution would permit the nation’s military to commit human rights abuses without fear of punishment in violation of international treaties. A new constitutional provision before Thailand’s legislative body, known as the National Council for Peace and Order, would exculpate the use of force by military personnel if the conduct is “carried out with honest intention” in the interest of national security. Earlier that month, the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia urged Thailand to immediately close [JURIST report] a military detention center in Bangkok where two high-profile inmates died in October.