Police in Thailand have staged a chaotic 'reconstruction' of the murders of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge And David Miller, as doubts are raised over the apparent confessions of two Burmese migrants.
Police made the two suspects, who they claim confessed to the killings, re-enact them on the beach in front of large crowds of tourists and observers at the crime scene on the island of Koh Tao.
The men, named only as Saw and Win, wore safety vests and helmets in case they were lynched by onlookers on the island, Channel 4 reported.
The suspects have not yet been charged with any crime, but police say their DNA was found on the victims and CCTV footage also supports their confessions.
Human rights groups say they are "suspicious" of the investigation as the suspects have not had legal representation and forced confessions have been extracted in Thailand, especially from Burmese migrants.
The pair were reported to be taking direction from the police to act out the killings, according to The Telegraph.
Witheridge 23, and Miller, 24, were found semi-naked and beaten on a beach in the popular island of Koh Tao on 15 September.
The country's national police chief, General Somyot Poompanmoung, said the Burmese men face charges of murder, rape and theft.
Another general, Panya Mamen, said that the reconstruction was carried out "in order to get a sense of what happened".
The public reconstruction follows heavy criticism of the Thai police and their handling of the case. They have taken weeks to find evidence and have performed several u-turns.
The police said they suspected Burmese migrants, before announcing they were hunting for Thai suspects, and then saying the two Burmese migrants - who are believed to have been held since the day after the bodies were found - had confessed to the crime.
They initially claimed witheridge was not raped before she died, but now say she was raped by two men.
Despite saying the two men had confessed to the crime, a Thai police chief was also reported this morning as saying the men had not made a "full confession".
Thai authorities are anxious to avoid damage to the tourism industry in their country, and said that the case should be concluded within 24 hours.
"Today the case should be finished because we want to clear this case up as soon as possible so that our tourism industry can bounce back," police chief Lieutenant General Jaktip Chaijinda said.
Human rights groups are concerned that the suspects have not had access to laywers, Reuters reported. "The suspects have been kept without legal representation. We still don't have lawyers observing the process directly," said Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, a human rights activist.
"So we are suspicious about the judicial process in terms of these alleged confessions."
Police chief Somyot claimed the suspects hadn't asked for lawyers and these would have been provided had they requested them.
Migrant workers from nearby Burma have been used as scapegoats for crimes in Thailand. The rape and murder of Welsh backpacker Kirsty Jones in 2000 was blamed on a guide from Burma, who had been beaten by police in an attempt to coerce a confession. No charges have even been brought over the 23-year-old's death.
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