Appeal filed for 2 convicted of killing British backpackers

BANGKOK — Two migrant workers from Myanmar who were convicted two years ago of murdering two British backpackers on a resort island in Thailand submitted a final appeal of their death sentences on Monday.

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin have denied killing David Miller and raping and then killing Hannah Witheridge in September 2014.

The crime tarnished Thailand's image as a holiday paradise, threatening its lucrative tourist industry. Controversy arose when police were accused of making the two men scapegoats. The two said they had been tortured into making false confessions, and their lawyers charged that DNA evidence against them was mishandled. Both men retracted their confessions two weeks after their arrests, but police denied their allegations.

"We went to submit our appeal to the Supreme Court today," said Nakhon Chomphuchat, the men's lawyer. "Now, all we can do is wait."

Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin lost their initial bid in March 2016 to have their verdict overturned by the Appeals Court.

Miller and Witheridge's battered bodies were found on the rocky shores of Koh Tao. Autopsies showed that the young victims, who met while staying at the same hotel on the island, suffered severe head wounds and that Witheridge was raped.

The two migrants, who entered Thailand illegally and were working on the island, were arrested about two weeks after the murders.

From the start, the case raised questions about police conduct. Investigators faced various criticisms, including their failure to secure the crime scene and their release of names and pictures of suspects who turned out to be innocent.

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