November 3, 2014 / 10:03 AM / 3 years ago

Thai tourist murder suspects accuse police of torture: lawyer

Tun Tun Htike (C), father of Win Zaw Htun, one of two Myanmar workers accused of killing British tourists holds a picture of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as his wife May Thein (R) cries in front of reporters after arriving in Bangkok October 22, 2014.Chaiwat Subprasom

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A lawyer representing two Myanmar men charged with the murder of two British tourists in Thailand said on Monday that their families have asked Thai authorities to investigate allegations of torture.

The bodies of British tourists Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were discovered on a rocky alcove on the island of Koh Tao on Sept. 15. Last month police said two men - Myanmar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun - had admitted to the killings.

Monday's request is the latest twist in a case that has been dogged by controversy - from the way the victims' bodies were handled to the publication of sensitive information related to the victims by some media.

The murders have dented tourism, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of Thailand's gross domestic product, at a time when the country is still under martial law following a May coup.

The families say the men are innocent.

"When they visited their sons they were told that they did not commit the crime. They were tortured by police and the police interpreter," Surapong Kongchantuk, lead lawyer for the Myanmar suspects, told reporters.

"I would like the Department of Special Investigation to take up the case."

Police deny that the men were tortured during interrogation and say they are being looked after well in prison.

Reporting by Jutarat Skulpichetrat; Writing Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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