ANP vows to handle Ko Tao case diplomatically

  • Written by San Maung Than
  • Published in Arakan State

San Maung Than — The Arakan National Party (ANP) says it will use diplomatic methods to free the two Burmese citizens from Arakan state who were convicted of murdering two British citizens in Thailand last month.

“The ANP will negotiate within our party in order to use diplomatic methods for the release of these two Burmese citizens. The Burmese government also needs to use required diplomatic methods [for their release]. I want to request the National League for Democracy (NLD), which will lead the new government, to get deeply involved in this case,” says the party's Chairman Dr Aye Maung.
Thailand’s Koh Samui Provincial Court gave handed down death sentences to Ko Win Zaw Tun and Ko Zaw Linn on December 24th ,, following a closely watched trial.

Dr Aye Maung continued that the two men still need to file for an appeal in line with the judicial system of the respective country. He urged the Thai government and the Privy Council of Thailand to review the case in the interest of Thai Burma relations.
“As a lawyer, I want to say that a ruling set down by a court is not final. They have the right to appeal in higher courts. There have been precedents of winning appeals at the higher courts for rulings set down by the lower courts because each court may or may not share the same view,” he added.

The controversial verdict garnered a lot attention in Burma with protests taking place daily in front of the Thai Embassy in Rangoo. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut has responded to the protests by defending the verdict.
Daw Aye Nu Sein a seinior figure in the ANP says its natural that many in Burma including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing would show concern in the case. “It’s common for each country to talk about the judgment of a country. This case is a law of conflict where our citizen fell under the law of the other country. At this time, [Thailand] can’t tell Burma not to interfere. For example, if it is a British citizen, Britain would also talk. We have the right to criticize, point out, and make demands. [Thailand] can’t say we shouldn’t point out and make demands,” she told BNI Election Newsroom.

The ANP won the most seats in Arakan also known as Rakhine state in the last election however Dr Aye Maung did not win his seat. The party won 12 out of 17 seats in the lower house of parliament and 10 of 12 seats in the upper house. The ANP's 23 seats in the state parliament means that the it is the largest party at the state level but this is one seat short of a full majority.