MWRN Justice: Koh Tao Murder Case fundraiser today supported an important visit by three Thai defense lawyers and one Thai/Myanmar translator to meet and check the wellbeing or Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the Koh Tao murder case convicted men, in Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison. The convicted men moved to the high security prison suddenly on Saturday 26 December early in the morning at 4am in a high security and unannounced confidential operation.
Defense lawyers and a translator met both guys for one hour in a specialist visiting room for lawyers today at 12pm and spoke to them through a telephone separated by a panel (n.b. the only other visitors allowed are embassy staff and relatives, with relatives having to speak via video conference only - we will work on trying to get additional visitors recognized by the prison soon). Visits by relatives to the guys in Zone 6/2 of the prison can take place only on Tuesdays and Thursday of each week.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo reported today being held together under tight security and in a very challenging situation. They are shackled and detained in a room, both restraint measures applied 24 hours a day. We understand the shackles will remain in place for four months and the 24/7 in room detention for one month. The guys even have to eat food in the detention room and cannot join other prisoners. Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo are detained alongside 61 other high security prisoners in the evening time but they said the room is very spacious, much more spacious than in Koh Samui Prison.
Although both of the guys were scared and stressed on departure from Koh Samui Prison to Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison because of rumors of potential poor treatment, now on arrival the boys have become much more relaxed and said both the staff in the prison and all the prisoners are very nice to them and provided them a lot of encouragement and support. Both prisoners seemed very happy and in good health with their spirits high.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were absolutely delighted to see the 3 lawyers and translator Sar today and thanked them so much for taking the time to visit. They also thanked everybody who is still supporting them including lawyers, MWRN and our fund, embassy staff, former Samui prison visited and people looking after their mothers (n.b. both mothers arrived to visit the guys in the afternoon today too).
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo have access to a television so they have been given so much encouragement and are excited by seeing the protests underway in support of overturning their conviction on the TV all the day. After a stressful arrival they are now more relaxed and feeling more comfortable also.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were able to bring all their property with them from Koh Samui Prison but are a little sad that their books, articles and letters had to be left behind in the quick rush to move (n.b. MWRN are following up this issue with Koh Samui Prison authorities). Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo said they really missed their friends at Koh Samui Prison and were sad they didn't have a chance to say proper goodbyes.
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo asked our team to give the following message to the general public: 'Thank you to everyone who has supported us. We are innocent and we were not involved in this horrific crime, we didn't kill. We want freedom. We are both confident the truth of this case will come out during the appeal process and we are confident we will eventually be released on appeal to finally get our freedom. With everyone's encouragement we will stay strong until the end.'
Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo said they will meditate every day and pray to the Buddha for
freedom but also for the peace and happiness of all those in the world, including the victims in the Koh Tao murder case.
Today our team deposited 2000 baht of our fund money into each of the guys prison accounts (see photo of reciept) which is the maximum amount that can be deposited in one day.