Koh Tao moorden: hackerscollectief in actie tegen politie en vonnis

The Guardian: hackerscollectief Anonymous verantwoordelijk voor cyberactie tegen Thaise politie

Koh Tao-moorden, Guardian, EDP
Leden hackerscollectikef Anonymous demonstreren in Engeland

 

Het internationale hackerscollectief Anonymous is verantwoordelijk voor de poging woensdag minstens vijftien websites van de Thaise politie lam te leggen. Dat blijkt uit berichtgeving van het Britse dagblad The Guardian. De hackersgroep zegt met deze actie te protesteren tegen wat zij noemt ‘het tot zwart schaap’ maken van de door een Thaise rechtbank kort voor kerstmis tot de dood veroordeelde twee Birmese mannen voor de moord op twee jonge Britse toeristen op het eilandje Koh Tao.

Woordvoerder Kritsana van de Thaise politie zei woensdag nog niet te weten wie achter de hackerspoging zit. Wel heeft de technologie afdeling van de Crime Suppression Division de daders onmiddellijk aangeklaagd wegens overtreding van de zogeheten Wet Computer Misdaden. Gewoonlijk worden op basis van die wet zeer zware straffen opgelegd.

Behalve het tijdelijk uitschakelen van de politiesites, waaronder die van de Metropolitan Police in Bangkok, publiceerden de hackers ook emailadressen van politiemensen, met het verzoek aan sympathisanten deze adressen te hacken. Volgens The Guardian lukte het de groep zeven van de vijftien sites tijdelijk uit te schakelen. Op sommige verscheen een zwart scherm met onder meer een oproep voor een toeristische boycot tegen Thailand.

De twee Birmese immigranten, Zaw Lin en Wai Phyo werden ter dood veroordeeld wegens in september 2014 gepleegde moord en verkrachting van de 23-jarige Hannah Witheridge uit Norfolk en de moord op de 24-jarige David Miller uit Jersey. Beide mannen legden eerst een bekentenis af, maar trokken die later in omdat die zou zijn afgedwongen door marteling en mishandeling.

Verschillende binnen- en buitenlandse mensenrechtgroeperingen hebben gewaarschuwd dat het niet de eerste keer is dat (illegale) immigranten valselijk werden beschuldigd van misdrijven.

Oproep tot toeristische boycot tegen Thailand

Ook de hackersgroep Anonymous refereert daaraan. In de door The Guardian gepubliceerde verklaring van de groep, tevens te zien op hun Facebook-pagina, stelt Anonymous dat de Thaise politie “de voorkeur geeft aan ter bescherming van de toerismeindustrie beschuldigen van buitenlanders of migranten dan Thai. ,,Thai beschuldigen kan toeristen afschrikken Thailand als vakantieland te kiezen”, aldus de verklaring.

Een man met het Guy Fawkes-masker op, ook in Thailand bekend door de film V for Vendetta, zei met digitale stem dat Anonymous niet gelooft dat de Thaise rechtbank de ware daders heeft veroordeeld. Hij riep op Thailand als vakantiebestemming te schrappen zolang de Thaise politie de manier waarop moord- en verkrachtingszaken waarbij buitenlanders- of immigranten zijn betrokken niet wijzigt en meer respect toont voor slachtoffers.

Politiewoordvoerder Dechnarong Suticharnbancha zei woensdag tegen het Thaise nieuwsagentschap Khaosid dat de Thaise politie de daders zal weten te op te sporen. ”Zelfs als de aanval vanuit het buitenland heeft plaatsgevonden zullen de daders op een gegeven moment hun straf niet ontlopen. Het is geen probleem, de Thaise politie is excellent”, meende hij. Zijn uitlatingen werden eveneens in The Guardian afgedrukt.

Volgens de Guardian heeft de familie van de vermoorde David Miller in een na het vonnis uitgegeven verklaring gesteld dat het politie- en forensisch onderzoek ‘niet de puinhoop was die er (in de media) van werd gemaakt’. De familie meent dat recht is gedaan aan hun zoon. De familie Witheridge sprak steun noch veroordeling over het vonnis uit. ,,We hebben tijd nodig om de uitkomst van het proces te verwerken en de meest geschikte manier te vinden om ons verhaal te vertellen”.

Meer bijzonderheden over proces en vonnis zijn te vinden in een hieronder gegeven samenvatting in het Engels van een special report van Eastern Daily Press.

Samenvatting van een “special report” over de Koh Tao moorden in Eastern Daily Press

EDP Koh Tao moorden

Hannah Witheridge trial special report: The judges’ ruling revealed and UK campaigner explains why he’s backing the accused

By David Powles for the EDP

 

EDP Koh Tao special report
Hannah Witheridge and David Miller. Photo: PA/PA Wire

 

DNA evidence proves ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ the two men found guilty of murdering a Hemsby woman and another British backpacker were behind the killings, the judges in the case ruled.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death on Christmas Eve after being found guilty of the brutal murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, on the Thai island of Koh Tao in September 2014.
The pair were beaten to death with a garden hoe and their bodies left for dead on a beach on the island. Miss Witheridge, a former University of East Anglia and Langley School student, had also been raped.

The four-page judgement of the Koh Samui Provincial Court claims DNA testing of the two migrants was obtained legally before their arrest and is ‘beyond reasonable doubt persuasive and proves the offenders’ identities’.
It adds: “The actions of both defendants are the offence of jointly committing murder for the purpose of concealing other offences.”
Wai Phyo was also convicted of stealing Mr Miller’s sunglasses and mobile phone and entering and residing in Thailand illegally. The ruling says he admitted stealing the phone under interrogation, which also implicated him in both murders.
Throughout the trial, the defence argued the DNA evidence was tested behind closed doors and without the proper witnesses and documentation and could have been tampered with.

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, head of Thailand’s Central Institute of Forensic Science, raised further doubts of the legitimacy of the DNA saying: “Koh Tao island is very far away, so we lack the people and maybe we lack the knowledge there. I don’t know why the police officer didn’t call a forensic doctor fromn the mainland”.
“In this case it’s a protocol: in every country [where] there’s a murder case it’s necessary that the doctor has to be at the scene.
“Secondly, according to law, the crime scene investigator can collect the evidence as the police ask. So, as you see, [in this case it is] not independent, it’s dependent on the police officer.
“Lastly, there are limitations because of the conditions of the environment, and the staff of the forensic science couldn’t access the scene immediately at the time we found the bodies. For me, we need more evidence to confirm.”

Htoo Chit, of the Myanmar Workers Rights Association, said the pair initially confessed after being told by police they would only be jailed for four or five years, rather than killed.

Amnesty International has accused Thai authorities of failing to independently investigate allegations of torture of the accused, while Myanmar’s army chief General Min Aung Hlaing has asked Thailand for a “review of the evidence”.

INTERVIEW WITH HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER

Human rights activist Andy Hall says he held no such doubt, so strong are the flaws, he believes, in the case against the two men.

Mr Hall has spent much of the past 12 years representing the human rights of migrants in Thailand, a country where they are often regarded as second-class citizens and subjected to cruelty and treatment.

He said speaking before Friday’s verdict: “A few days after the murder some people being interviewed said they were being abused. They said they were beaten and scalded with boiling water by the police in an attempt to try and find out what was going on. Later, the accused said the same thing. That they were beaten and tortured to confess to the crimes, which is when we got involved.

“We wanted to ensure they had a fair trial. They said they were not guilty but had been tortured to confess. It was very clear to me the case was not reliable.”
He claims that guilt had not been ‘proven beyond reasonable doubt’. He said the questioning and charging of the accused was unlawful, the confessions came about only because of torture and abuse and therefore should be disregarded, there was a lack of DNA evidence linking the alleged murder weapon (a hoe) and the accused and that the DNA evidence was unreliable and should be disregarded. He also claims crucial bits of evidence, such as clothing, have gone missing.

Mr Hall said: “They are just tiny boys. When you compare them in size to Hannah and David you have to question their ability to do what they’ve been accused of doing.”
He added: “The whole questioning process was bizarre. They questioned them without any charges and without being represented. The translators could only speak a little bit of Thai. Wai Phyo was questioned for five hours, but there was no video of that, just 12 minutes of video where he was being told what to do.

“The whole case is not in accordance with international standards. But if the 22-year-olds didn’t kill the pair, who did? What of rumours the killing was orchestrated by a powerful family on the island?”

UK INVOLVEMENT

In the weeks after the murder, concerns were raised by several high-ranking British officials about the investigation. This led to a team of three, a Detective Chief Inspector and a forensics operations coordinator from the Met Police and an experienced officer from Norfolk Police, being sent out to review the case.

However, a letter obtained by this paper shows they were only allowed to play an ‘observer’ role.
The letter, from Hugh Giles, directorate of legal services at the Met and sent to the defence-team as they unsuccessfully tried to obtain the force’s report, said: “They did not conduct any investigations…The Thai authorities permitted the UK police officers to have observer status only in relation to limited parts of the Royal Thai Police’s investigation and the UK police officers did not provide any advice or assistance.“They did not take possession of any physical evidence, forensic evidence, exhibits, interviews or statements.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said in November 2014 that while he was ‘very concerned’ about the case ‘we can’t interfere with another country’s judicial system’. Foreign minister Hugo Swire and Mark Kent, the British Ambassador to Thailand, also raised concerns. The Met Police, Mr Swire and Mr Kent would not answer our questions. But a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokeswoman said: “We want to see whoever committed these murders brought to justice through a fair and transparent process. The British Government cannot interfere in Thailand’s judicial processes, just as other governments are unable to interfere in our own judicial processes.”

Voor het volledige verhaal ga naar: http://thailandjustice.com/hannah-witheridge-trial-special-report/

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