The trial of Myanmar citizens Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo opened yesterday to keen scrutiny by stakeholders. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges. This is unsurprising given the controversy surrounding the investigation, which appears to be yet another example of institutional discrimination against the Burmese underclass in Thailand. The integrity of the trial will indicate how far this discrimination reaches. Fair trial or no, if the accused are found guilty then the millions of Burmese workers providing vital, cheap labour for the Thai economy will be further stigmatised in their adopted country. If the accused are found to be not guilty, they will walk away heroic underdogs, bolstering the sense of discrimination and injustice felt by Burmese residents of Thailand. Then the real investigation will need to begin.
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