Friday, April 18, 2014

Tribute to Karpal Singh

On 17th March Karpal Singh died in a tragic car accident. His father died in a car accident. Five years ago he was paralysed in a car accident. This champion of those sentenced to death on drug and other charges appears to have been killed by a driver in possession of drugs:

"We are but playthings of the gods, they kill us for their pleasure"

Only a month ago I met this legal champion as he defended Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the Malaysian opposition in parliament. He himself fought alongside Anwar in opposing an autocratic political hegemony.

This website salutes this giant gladiator for justice with the fitting tribute of Zunar.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Karpal Singh, Tiger of Jelutong

Malaysia is one of the world’s most intransigent executioners in the world. Adherence to the age old brutality of hanging until death has produced one of the world’s greatest gladiator lawyers who has rescued hundreds from the noose, often at the last moment against all odds. Karpal Singh, known as the Tiger of Jelutong, after the constituency where he served as member of parliament for 21 years.
Child of a poor Sikh family he saw the death penalty in the naked brutality of public executions by the Japanese in occupied Penang, and learned to bow deeply to Japanese soldiers who held power of life and death. Throughout his life he has retained a horror of the death penalty and a rejection of unprincipled power.
Nothing in Karpal’s life has passed smoothly, neither his graduation from the University of Singapore, his first employment in a law office, his legal practice which included his own imprisonment for 15 months, or his political career.
His recent biography, “Karpal Singh, Tiger of Jelutong”[1] is a fascinating tale of heroism and daring. In the context of this website we concentrate on his contribution to countering Malaysia’s draconian capital punishment regime.
There is almost an end to the death penalty in Malaysia. In the heyday of executions Malaysia preferred to hang people in pairs, so that they could be a comfort to each other in their last moments. The death penalty was mandatory for possession of 15 grams of heroin, for possession of a gun or ammunition.  Of the 441 people hanged in Malaysia from 1960 to early 2011, 228 of them were convicted of drug trafficking, 130 were convicted of illegal possessions of arms, four were convicted of waging war against the king, and one individual was hanged for kidnapping. Amnesty International claims that two persons were executed in 2013 but this figure is not confirmed elsewhere. In recent years the numbers executed have been one or none. But it is not over yet; there are at least 902 persons condemned to death in Malaysia’s prisons.
A final end to the death penalty in Malaysia will undoubtedly be largely the achievement of Karpal Singh. In the words of his biographer, “While he sees his contribution to Malaysian society as more legal than political, nevertheless his dual-pronged achievements in both fields have been significant and very much entwined. Undoubtedly his biggest contribution to Malaysian society has been in steering hundreds of clients away from the gallows via numerous legal challenges to capital punishment legislation… he has spent a lifetime working to modify the laws of a legal system which evolved from Muslim rulers and British colonialists.”
The biography by Tim Donoghue is an inspiration of leonine defense of the unfortunate, but also a model of imaginative and exhaustive querying of a justice system which appears rigid and unyielding. Karpal fights in the courts, but also in the prison cells where he becomes friend and champion of his clients. When he loses a case, he is there to strengthen and console the families on their last meeting with their relative. When he wins he shares a victory drink with his client, and sees them to the airport if they are foreigners.
He is now 74 years old, crippled and confined to a wheelchair due to a car accident, but he is still alert and daring in his defense strategy, speaking in an eloquent growl that inevitably recalls the metaphor of his nickname, the Tiger of Jelutong.

[1] Karpal Singh, Tiger of Jelutong, Tim Donoghue, Marshall Cavendish Editions, Singapore, 2013

Friday, April 11, 2014

Suracha Chaimongkol 1

A 31-year-old Thai woman was sentenced to death Tuesday, April 8th, after a Ho Chi Minh City court found her guilty of smuggling nearly two kilograms of cocaine from Brazil to Vietnam last October.
This is the second death sentence that the HCMC People's Court has handed down to a foreigner in as many days.
Chaimongkol Suracha, 31, told the court that she got to know an African man called Fosta online. Fosta had introduced her to a man named Mieara who he said would help her land a job, news websites  VnExpress reported Tuesday.
On August 12, 2012, Mieara took Chaimongkol  to Vietnam to meet the manager of an automobile export company, but then said the company had a job vacancy in Brazil, so they took a flight to the South American nation that night.
When they arrived in Brazil, Mieara gave Chaimongkol US$1,000 for expenses and left.
Chaimongkol  said she was watched by another African man, and later she was taken shopping to buy a suitcase and two albums by two other Africans.
They then asked her to return to Vietnam to meet the manager of the car company and get the job Mieara had earlier promised.
Chaimongkol  was arrested October 1, 2012 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport when she arrived from Brazil, after customs officers discovered cocaine in the two photo albums. The flight had transited through Dubai.
Chaimongkol told investigators and the judge that she did not know that the albums contained drugs.
But investigators dismissed her claims, saying evidence showed that she had willingly been a mule for a transnational drug trafficking ring for profit, the Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported. The report did not elaborate on the evidence presented by investigators.
The VnExpress report, meanwhile, said the panel of judges said the fact that Vietnamese customs officials had found the drug in her luggage, that she had moved from Thailand to several countries, spent Mieara's money, and stayed with the African people, combined with other evidence, was sufficient to pronounce her guilty.  

Suracha Chaimongkol 2


H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh
The Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
83/1 Wireless Road, Lumpini,
Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330

Your Excellency,

For ten years the Union for Civil Liberty has been campaigning for abolition of the death penalty in Thailand. The Thai Government appears to favour a gradual approach to abolition, and a spokesperson from the Ministry of Justice has spoken of Thailand achieving a state of de facto abolition in 2019, the tenth anniversary of the latest executions in our country. Meanwhile the Ministry of Justice is organizing consultation meetings on the issue in five areas of the country, with the purpose of preparing material for a debate in parliament. The Union for Civil Liberty, an accredited Civil Society Organization is a partner in this programme.
As the years pass I become convinced that the approaches to abolition in Asian countries, especially within ASEAN, must become a joint process. The conditions and problems in our countries are very similar, especially in the matter of public opinion regarding the death penalty. In this context may I ask your sympathetic attention to the case of the young Thai women currently under sentence of death in Vietnam, in particular the recent case of Suracha Chaimongkol, who was sentenced to death by a Court in Ho Chi Minh City on 4th April 2014.
To begin with the most human aspects of the case may I plead that when a woman is involved in drug trafficking there are always men involved as principle actors; in most cases in the region these men are of African origin who are very skilled in luring girls with no criminal background to be drug mules. They display a false interest and charm in persuading young women of no experience, and usually from rural areas, offering them attention and opportunities of travel they have never dreamed of. At this stage the women are deceived with promises of attractive employment abroad and showered with gifts and hospitality. The nature of the employment is not clearly specified, as the woman becomes more entangled in a debt of obligation. Do these young women realise that the two weighty photo albums they are asked to take back to their country, contain a deadly content? Some do and some do not. My guess is that the majority are in a state of confusion, and are certainly not informed of the consequences of their action. They are young, without experience of criminal behaviour, of low education, and having the time of their lives, experiencing attention and cajolement beyond their expectations.
Mitigation is an essential part of the justice system, but it does not appear to have played a part in the sentencing. I am certain that Chaimongkol is an excellent candidate for reform. She must be punished, and severely punished, but not to the level of execution. One may ask what punishment is left for those who lead and deceive young women to the execution chamber.
The young woman was deceived by men, no doubt arrested and sentenced by men, and will be executed by men. What does this say of the state of women in our cultures?
It is notable that most countries which abolish the death penalty, approach the final act by suspending the death sentence for women. It is easier to see the horror of the death penalty when it is applied to the weak, instilling in us a pity for women who gave every one of us life, and whom we depended on when we were helpless, or during those stages in life, illness or old age, when we again become dependent. The execution of women is a sorry affair, frequently mismanaged, and involving abhorrent detail[1]

The issue of the death penalty for drug trials is most questionable. Vietnam has ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and your Excellency is certainly familiar with Article 6.2, “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes”. Members of the UN Committee for Human Rights have interpreted these words to exclude drug crimes from the category of most serious crimes[2]. Women rarely commit the crimes of premeditated homicide which constitute “most serious crimes” in international law. Are they then to suffer extra condemnation for drug crimes that are unlawfully included in the category of “serious crimes”?

Certainly drug trafficking is a serious criminal act but not a most serious crime. Like all crimes incurring the death penalty, execution is not an effective deterrent. Drugs are a social evil, as are prostitution and modern slavery. The solutions are in education, social rejection of aberrant behaviour, and such penalties as an enlightened justice system may impose. We may affirm with certainty that the execution of young Thai women is not part of elimination of the problem. One may return again to ICCPR for an indication of the way to follow, Article 10.3 “The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation”.
Finally, may I return to the importance of a regional sensitivity to judicial practice and use of the death penalty. This letter is not a criticism of Vietnam. A year ago I had the opportunity to observe the lives of farmers in the Mekong Delta and saw that Vietnam is an example to all countries in this region for its promotion of rice farmers.   Thailand also condemns women to death for drug smuggling. But women condemned to death regularly benefit from commutation of sentence. In the whole history of the death sentence since 1935 only three women have been executed, none in recent years. I believe that extending commutation of death sentences for women, especially for drug crimes where women are especially vulnerable, would now be a step forward in the administration of justice. May I plead that your Excellency recommend compassion and mercy for Thai women condemned to death on drug charges because of their particular vulnerability to deception, their doubtful participation in acting as drug mules, and as a gesture of a recognition of the condition of women in society. I am informed by members of the Thai office for narcotics control, as their colleagues in the UN Office for Drug Control, that they are convinced of the irrelevance of the death penalty in combating drugs. They would certainly be pleased by a Vietnamese initiative to abandon a policy of executing women convicted on drug charges and be the more willing to offer their cooperation in pursuing a more enlightened policy of drug control.
                                                  Yours faithfully,
                                Danthong Breen, Head of Death Penalty Section
                                                   Union for Civil Liberty

[1] See posts on the execution of women
[2] Human Rights Committee CCPR/CO/84/THA 8 July 2005

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Is the Death Penalty Still Necessary to Thai Society”

On Friday 28th March the Ministry of Justice Division for the Protection of Rights and Freedoms held a one day meeting to discuss the relevance of the death penalty in present day Thailand. The meeting was one of five meetings held throughout the country to prepare for a parliamentary debate on abolition of the death penalty.

The morning was devoted to a powerful and convincing presentation of current thinking on the death penalty. Today, 140 countries have rejected the death penalty, while it is retained by 58 others. Even in retentionist countries the death penalty is continually reducing in practice. It is now recognised that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime; rather, crime is deterred by strong likelihood of detection and punishment.  Practice of the death penalty cannot avoid the terrible occurrence of wrongful execution. Persons who commit the most serious crimes, in the name of humanity, deserve another chance to regret their action and reform. The belief in reform was presented as Buddhist teaching which should influence a Buddhist nation.
Finally, abolition of the death penalty is the proclaimed moral aim of the UN assembly of the world’s nations.

During the afternoon over a hundred participants gathered in groups to answer the question proposed by the theme of the seminar: Is the death penalty still necessary to Thai society? In opening the Seminar the head of the Rights and Liberties Department, Dr. Narat Sewattanant said that 80 – 90% of Thais disagreed with the idea of abolishing the death penalty. His statement was backed by the reactions of participants in the afternoon meeting. Group after group reported their opinions that the death penalty is indeed necessary. It is necessary for all the 55 crimes listed in the outdated criminal code. And imprisonment is not an alternative option.
Apart from one small group of members of civil society organizations, rejection of the morning’s presentations was complete. The participants were people of educated background, most being in government service. Their ignorance of the tide of change regarding the death penalty throughout the world was complete. Or perhaps they believed in a viewpoint frequently expressed, that Thailand is different, and fear of execution is the only possible defense against chaos and rampant crime.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Death Penalty Statistics : 25th February 2014

Total number of prisoners condemned to death 685 persons
Male                       630 persons
Female                     55 persons
Total                       685 persons

Death Penalty Convictions on drug charges for cases legally completed
Male                        60 persons
Female                    11 persons                      
Total                       71 persons
Death Penalty Convictions on other charges for cases legally completed
Male                       75 persons
Female                       1 person
Total                       76 persons

Death Penalty Convictions on drug charges before Appeal Court
Male                       175 persons
Female                    36 persons
Total                       211 persons
Death Penalty Convictions on other charges before Appeal Court
Male                       223 persons
Female                       7 persons
Total                       230 persons

Death Penalty Convictions on drug charges before Supreme Court
Male                       23 persons
Female                      0 persons
Total                       23 persons
Death Penalty Convictions on other charges before Supreme Court
Male                        74 persons
Female                      0 persons
Total                        74 persons

Courtesy of Department of Corrections

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Thailand does not execute women"

The most recent statistics available on the gender composition of prisoners condemned to death is for 1st May 2013. Of 706 condemned prisoners 68 are women and 638 are men. Of the 68 women, 54 are condemned on drug charges and 14 for other crimes.
 The numbers of prisoners who have completed all legal process are 67 of whom 4 are women.  These prisoners await a decision on an application for royal pardon. The 4 women are all condemned on drug charges.
It is now considered  that international law allows the death penalty only in cases of premeditated homicide, and Thailand has been admonished by the United Nations Human Rights Commission for persisting attaching the death penalty to drug related cases:
“14. The Committee notes with concern that the death penalty is not restricted to the “most serious crimes” within the meaning of article 6, paragraph 2, and is applicable to drug trafficking”  Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, on the occasion of Thailand’s report in Geneva  on its observance on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. CCPR/CO/84/THA, 8 July 2005.
Thailand’s obligations under an International Treaty take precedence over national law. It follows that the death penalty sentence applied to most women in Thailand is illegal by international law. On the occasion when the admonition was declared, no excuse or explanation was offered by the official delegation.
Thailand has shown a face of mercy in the matter of pregnant women who are condemned to death. By a Royal Decree on 30th August 2007, the death sentence in their case is commuted to life imprisonment. A comment to the law explains the motivation of clemency is “so that the child may experience the care of a mother and grow to be a good member of society”
The last sentence shows a fine sensitivity of the role of a mother. Logically such sensitivity should extend to all prisoners who are mothers, or women whose caring nature is an essential aspect of our society.
Only three women have been executed in modern Thai history. It is not a great step to extend commutation of the death sentence to all condemned women. 

Execution of Women 3 - Thailand

“Look for the woman”, is a famous phrase in French literature to indicate that when man commits a crime, there is always involvement of a woman. However, in crime committed by a woman, there is even greater     certainty that a man is involved.
In Thailand this is true, especially in death sentences for drug related crimes. In the storage and delivery of drugs it seems that the initiative must come from men. There was a well known case of two Cambodian sisters who were condemned to death for storing a large quantity of drugs foisted on them by one they claimed was a naval officer. They ran a market stall in the border area and had grown up in Cambodia where there is no death penalty; it is unlikely that the man who asked them to store the drugs told them that it was otherwise in Thailand. Once at a meeting on the death penalty, I raised the issue with the Minister of Justice who was a speaker. His reply was that Thailand does not execute women. Would that this were indeed so!
At least in recent times, Thailand has executed one woman. Her execution was a shocking event of which there are several partial accounts. An official who walked with her to the execution chamber attempted to flirt with her to count him as her last boyfriend, with the misplaced intention of distracting her from her awful fate. She was tied to the execution post and executed with a burst of machine gun fire. Then her body was carried to a small side room, while preparations were made to execute another prisoner. Moans were heard from the side room indicating that the woman was still alive. Officials rushed in; one tried to pump blood form her wounds to hasten death while another is said to have tried to smother her. The executioner insisted that she be brought back to the execution chamber, tied again to the post, and the execution repeated. Why did the accused survive heavy caliber machine gun fire? The executioner surmised that he had been nervous to execute a woman and aimed badly. Another commentator has suggested that the location of the woman’s heart indicated on a white cloth between the prisoner and the executioner had been indicated wrongly, due to the hesitation of a “doctor” to touch her breast in the execution chamber. Whatever, the case shows the inevitable errors that often accompany executions and reveal the truth behind the claim that executions are always clinically painless.
A final posting in this series on the execution of women will draw conclusions for Thailand.

Execution of Women 2 - France

France: In the past executions were carried out in public in the belief that seeing a criminal die would deter others from crime. At a time when executions throughout Europe were accompanied by vicious torture, women were burned to death on charges of witchcraft. The revolution of 1789 introduced the guillotine, a relatively humane instrument of death.

Georgette Thomas, accused of having burnt her mother was the last woman guillotined in public. It was a horrific event and the public executioner asked to be excused from this type of execution in the future. Later, Presidents systematically pardoned women who were sentenced to death. However during World War II, Marshal Pétain, Rresident of Vichy France who collaborated with German occupation, sent five women to the guillotine. One woman maddened by the prospect of the guillotine refused to dress and was guillotined naked.
With the restoration of democracy after the war it was expected that the execution of women would again cease. But under a lawyer President two more women were executed in 1947 and 1949. Then it ended From 1949 on, all women sentenced to death were pardoned. Men would continue to be executed until September 1977 . The death penalty was abolished in French law in 1981.
There is thus good precedent for treating the execution of women as a separate issue from that of men, where human compassion realizes more readily the unacceptability of capital punishment.
“Look for the woman”, is a famous phrase in French literature to indicate that when man commits a crime, there is somewhere involvement of a woman. However, in crime committed by a woman, there is even greater certainty that a man is involved, whether as the tormentor of a woman who finally reacts with violence, or as the one who incites the woman to the crime.

Execution of Women 1 - England

The execution of women is an atrocious affair. Most of us have experienced the protection from injury given us by a woman when we were children. An urge to protect women, the source of life, is deep in the human psyche. And yet women are executed, of course by a male executioner.
Consider examples;
Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in England, was hanged on 13th July 1955. She was 28 years old and night club entertainer. She had been abused and beaten by many men. Finally, after an abortion induced by a kick to her stomach by a ‘lover’, she took a gun and shot him dead. She confessed the crime, was condemned to death, and despite many appeals for her life from throughout the world, England’s most efficient hangman broke her neck only ten seconds after she entered the execution chamber;
Raymond Chandler, a famous American crime writer wrote:
“This thing haunts and, so far as I may say it, disgusts me as something obscene. I am not referring to the trial, of course, but to the medieval savagery of the law. I have been tormented for a week at the idea that a highly civilised people should put a rope round the neck of Ruth Ellis and drop her through a trap and break her neck. This was a crime of passion under considerable provocation. No other country in the world would hang this woman.”
Revulsion against the hanging of Ruth Ellis raised the question “Should a woman hang?”, and, logically, the further question “Should anybody be hanged?”. Ten years later the answer became a clear “No”. In 1965 the death penalty in England was suspended, and abolished for ever after another five years, when it was confirmed that the absence of the death penalty did not affect the murder rate.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Vietnam Begins Executions by Lethal Injection

The intention of Vietnam to carry our executions was blocked by the refusal of foreign countries to provide the poisons required. Similar refusal to supply the US has led to the use of one or two poisons rather than the three considered to cause a painless death. US States have also used chemicals intended to kill animals.
Meanwhile Vietnam has developed its own poisons with the result that death is "too slow".
The Vietnamese news item was translated by Google. This website has not cared to improve the translation

Politics - News Social news.Updated at 14:06 , 10/28/2013Have 3 cases of death by lethal injection( News news ) - Morning 28/10 , Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said three cases were death by lethal injection while the remaining 684 death sentences .

Psychological processes of the first prisoners by lethal injection
The first prisoners by lethal injection is?
More than 170 prisoners from lethal injection on 27/6
Proposal backed by lethal injection for death row inmateReport to Congress morning 28/10 , the Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong said the country is still waiting for 684 prisoners sentenced to death . In the 682 it is the responsibility of the enforcement agency of the of Public Security , and 2 cases of agencies responsible for enforcement of the Army .Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong report to CongressJustice Minister Ha Hung Cuong report to CongressThe first case of death by lethal injection took place on 6/8 in Hanoi with Nguyen Anh Tuan prisoners ( 27 years old , born in Me Linh District, Hanoi - The number of detained : 2757A1 ) . This prisoner guilty of murder and robbery .After the executions are done , the Ministry of Public Security held a meeting to draw lessons for implementation. According to Minister Ha Hung Cuong , in the month 10/2013 , judgment enforcement agencies have conducted two case anymore death by lethal injection in the form of Son La and Hai Phong .In the report , the Minister Ha Hung Cuong stressed that death by lethal injection is still slow . Currently the number is rapidly increasing prison created enormous pressure for the detention , detention facilities are lacking . Currently reviewing proposals focus detained persons sentenced to death camps in southern and northern camp .
Earlier, on 1/7/2011 enforcement of criminal law has been in effect , Vietnam is no longer applicable to death by firing squad instead is lethal injection . To prepare for the implementation of this project , the Ministry of Public Security in collaboration with a number of agencies 5 base construction execution in these areas , including Hanoi .However, due to difficulties in the preparation of poisons, enforcement forces and facilities to the implementation of the death penalty by lethal injection was delayed .
After that , the Government issued Decree amending the implementation of the death penalty . Accordingly, the use of prescribed drugs for executions of 3 types : sensory loss drugs , drugs and drugs listed musculoskeletal system of the heart to stop functioning .
Each prisoner will be given a dose of the three drugs mentioned above . Injections will be transmitted directly into the veins of death and follow 3 -step process : Injection sensory loss , in the case of prisoners of consciousness is not lost until given further visual loss .Next, prisoners will be given medication lists musculoskeletal system and finally injections to stop the heart's activity .Thuy Van ( General Employees , DT )

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Declaration of Sharia in Brunei

Brunei is considered an abolitionist country. No known executions have occurred in Brunei since 1957. All that ends today with the declaration of implementation of Sharia law.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in a speech that a new Sharia Penal Code had been gazetted Tuesday and would "come into force six months hereafter and in phases".
Based on the details of particular cases, punishments can include stoning to death for adulterers, severing of limbs for theft and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to consumption of alcohol, according to a copy of the code.
"By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled," said the sultan, now 67 years old.
Where is AICHR, the supposed organ of human rights in ASEAN?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

บทนำ abolitionthai

วันต่อต้านโทษประหารชีวิตสากลในปี 2556 นี้ (World Day for Abolition of the Death Penalty) สมาคมสิทธิและเสรีภาพของประชาชน – สสส.(Union for Civil Liberty – UCL) ได้มีการจัดทำเว็บไซต์ภาษาไทยขึ้นเพื่อจุดประสงค์ในการเผยแพร่ความรู้เกี่ยว กับการยกเลิกโทษประหารชีวิตเพื่อการก้าวไปสู่การยกเลิกโทษดังกล่าวในประเทศ ไทย ซึ่งจะมีการเสนอเรื่องดังกล่าวต่อรัฐสภาในอนาคตอันใกล้รวมถึงให้ประเทศไทย

สิทธิในการมีชีวิต (Right to Life) เป็นสิทธิมนุษยชนขั้นพื้นฐานและเป็นต้นกำเนิดของสิทธิมนุษยชนด้านอื่นๆ สิทธิในการมีชีวิตนี้มักจะถูกกล่าวหาเป็นสิทธิที่ขัดขวางการลงโทษประหาร ชีวิตต่อผู้ซึ่งละเมิดสิทธิในการมีชีวิตของผู้อื่น ซึ่งถ้อยคำเหล่านี้อาจะเป็นสิ่งที่ถูกต้องในอดีตซึ่งเป็นช่วงเวลาที่สังคม ยังไม่ได้มีการพัฒนาระบบกระบวนการยุติธรรมเพื่อรับมือกับอาชญากรรมและปกป้อง ประชาชนในสังคม อย่างไรก็ตาม ในประเทศประชาธิปไตยที่พัฒนาแล้ว ซึ่งกระบวนการยุติธรรมมีประสิทธิภาพในการรับมือกับอาชญากรรมและเป็นเครื่อง มือในการปกป้องประชาชนในสังคม โทษประหารชีวิตกลายเป็นสิ่งที่รุนแรงและโหดร้ายซึ่งไม่ได้ช่วยป้องกันการ เกิดอาชญากรรมร้ายแรงแต่อย่างใด และยังจะเป็นการลดคุณค่าของชีวิตของมนุษย์คนหนึ่งลงด้วย
เรื่องการยกเลิกโทษประหารชีวิตนี้เป็น เรื่องที่ต้องใช้เวลาในการทำความเข้าใจ และการสำรวจความคิดเห็นของประชาชนโดยที่ไม่ได้ให้ข้อมูลความรู้เกี่ยวกับผล กระทบของโทษประหารชีวิตและเหตุผลว่าทำไมถึงควรยกเลิกโทษดังกล่าว ไม่สามารถนำมาใช้เป็นแนวทางในการทำให้เกิดสิ่งที่ถูกต้องในสังคมได้ เว็บไซต์นี้จะนำเสนอเกี่ยวกับเหตุผลของการต้อง ซึยกเลิกโทษประหารชีวิตในมุมมองของสิทธิมนุษยชนซึ่งได้รับการยอมรับใน ประชาคมโลกส่วนใหญ่

เรายินดีที่จะรับฟังความคิดเห็นของท่านและตอบคำถามเกี่ยวกับประเด็นการยก เลิกโทษประหารชีวิต หวังว่าการแลกเผลี่ยนทัศนคติในครั้งนี้สามารถทำให้ความกลัวและความสงสัย เกี่ยวกับการยกเลิกโทษประหารชีวิตนั้นหมดไป และทำให้การใช้โทษประหารชีวิตกลายเป็นสิ่งที่คงอยู่แต่เพียงในประวัติศาสตร์ เท่านั้น

Letter on Abolition to Miinister of Justice from World Coalition and FIDH

H.E. Chaikasem Nitisiri, Minister of Justice
22nd Floor Software Park Building
         Chaeng Wattana Road
         Pakkred, Nonthaburi 11120, Thailand

Paris, 8 October 2013
 Dear Minister of Justice,

On the eve of the 11th World Day Against the Death Penalty, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (World Coalition) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) write to you to urge the Government of Thailand to take immediate steps to abolish the death penalty, an irrevocable, inhuman, cruel and degrading punishment that does not make society safer.

The World Coalition and FIDH also welcome the organization of the expert seminar on moving away from the death penalty in South East Asia by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Thailand which will take place in Bangkok on 22-23 October 2013.

Thailand is one of the 58 retentionist countries which still carry out the death penalty. The last execution took place in August 2009 when two convicted drug traffickers were executed by lethal injection.
In August 2012, Thailand abolished the death penalty for offenders under 18 years of age and reduced life imprisonment for minors to 50 years. On 16 August 2012, a royal pardon was announced whereby all prisoners who have been sentenced to death and whose cases have reached a final verdict would have their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. In December 2010 and 2012, Thailand abstained during the UNGA vote on a resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. It had previously voted against it in 2007 and 2008.

The World Coalition and FIDH hope that these positive steps indicate a growing political will on the part of the Government of Thailand to move progressively and expeditiously towards abolition.

We are concerned, however, that Thai courts continue to hand down new death sentences every year, including for drug-related offenses, in contravention to the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Committee in 2005. Thailand is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which requires States that still retain the death penalty to restrict its use to only the “most serious crimes”, which drug-related offenses are not.

We further regret that Thailand did not accept the ten recommendations on abolition or moratorium it received from UN Member States at the Universal Periodic Review in October 2011, and urge Thailand to reconsider its position on these important recommendations.

The global trend towards abolition is strong and unmistakable. Two of Thailand’s fellow ASEAN Member States, Cambodia and the Philippines, have abolished the death penalty while no executions have been reported in Burma and Laos in the last decade. According to the United Nations, approximately 150 countries have abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium, either in law or in practice. Many countries have abolished the death penalty when public opinion was still in favour of it, and this demonstrates that political courage is needed to steer societies towards a more compassionate and less violent future, and to ensure the full respect for the right to life, as guaranteed by the ICCPR.

Thailand’s second National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2013) includes the review of laws which permit capital punishment and the replacement of capital punishment with life imprisonment as indicators of success. The Human Rights Plan will be renewed this year and the World Coalition and FIDH encourage Thailand to make abolition of the death penalty one of the key recommendations for the third Human Rights Plan.

Thank you for your serious consideration of our recommendations and we look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,
WCADP President

Karim Lahidji
FIDH President  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Introducing a Sister Site

Dear followers of deathpenaltythailand,
The original concept of this site was that it would contain posts in both Thai and English. However, the news sources are mostly in English and a bottleneck in translation has resulted in a patent ascendency of the English language. Which ill serves Thai followers. Meanwhile, the cause of abolition in Thailand has been advancing. from a dream perspective to quasi real plans to attain abolition.
The nub of the problem is a lack of political will to achieve abolition as explained in a recent post. However, the word in the street is that the will of the Thai people must be consulted on any movement for abolition. Well and good, but we know already what the response of uninformed opinion will be.
There is no programme of providing the Thai people with information on the arguments for abolition and why the trend to abolition has become so strong a worldwide current. 
UCL responds to this situation by dedicating a 100 per cent Thai language website to meet this need. Some of the material will be mined from deathpenaltythailand. Other parts will be inspired by the unique requirements of a Thai site.
We warmly invite Thai readers of deathpenaltythailand to patronise the new Thai site. Our English language followers may browse a little to see what the new site may offer. 
While the English language site is enabled by a wish and a prayer, more material support is needed to launch a Thai site. We gratefully acknowledge modest support by the European Union to ensure the first six months of this site. There is no doubting the sincerity and dedication of our European partners to the cause of abolition of the death penalty. An appreciation of the inalienable value of human life is Europe at its best. It was born with the Greek miracle, birthstone of humanism and democracy, nurtured in the renaissance and the rediscovery that man is the measure of all things, brought to maturity in the age of enlightenment, tested in the fire of fascism and Nazism, and proclaimed in the glorious Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when European thinkers discovered that their ideals had common ground with the ideals of history and development in all cultures of the world, as exemplified in the first article that all men are brothers, "and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood". The site URL is

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

World Day Against the Death Penalty

10th October marked the 11th World Day against the death penalty. We mark the day by reactions
 World Day 1
"Justice that kills is not justice", 42 countries that have signed a joint call for the abolition of the death penalty believe.
According to the signatories, death penalty meant inherent inhumanity.  "The death penalty is not only an intolerable affront to human dignity, its use goes hand in hand with numerous violations of the human rights of the condemned and their families. Moreover, capital punishment has no positive impact on crime prevention or security and does not in any way repair the harm done to the victims and their families."
"The aim of our appeal is not to deliver a lecture, but to share our experience as well as our conviction. If the history of the abolition of the death penalty in our various countries has taught us anything, it is that the path is long and hard. Capital punishment was not repealed overnight. Its abolition became a reality only as a result of increasing awareness and constant collective effort. It was through perseverance and in gradual stages that the number of executions fell, the list of crimes punishable by death was narrowed, justice became more transparent, de facto moratoriums on executions were established and that - finally - the death penalty disappeared. It is this process that countries that still carry out executions in the name of justice must go through."
This joint call to abolish the death penalty is signed by the following ministers of foreign affairs:
Ditmir Bushati (Albania), Gilbert Saboya Sunyé (Andorra), Michael Spindelegger (Austria), Didier Reynders (Belgium), Zlatko Lagumd?ija (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kristian Wigenin (Bulgaria), Vesna Pusić (Croatia), Ioannis Kasoulides (Cyprus), Jan Kohout (Czech Republic), Villy Søvndal (Denmark), Urmas Paet (Estonia), Erkki Tuomioja (Finland), Laurent Fabius (France), Nikola Poposki (FYR Macedonia), Guido Westerwelle (Germany), Evangelos Venizelos (Greece), János Martonyi (Hungary), Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (Iceland), Eamon Gilmore (Ireland), Emma Bonino (Italy), Edgars Rinkēvičs (Latvia), Aurelia Frick (Liechtenstein), Linas Antanas Linkevičius (Lithuania), Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg), George Vella (Malta), Natalia Gherman (Moldova), José Badia (Monaco), Igor Lukšić (Montenegro), Frans Timmermans (Netherlands), Espen Barth Eide (Norway), Rui Machete (Portugal), Titus Corlățean (Romania), Pasquale Valentini (San Marino), Ivan Mrkić (Serbia), Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia), Karl Erjavec (Slovenia), José Manuel García-Margallo (Spain), Carl Bildt (Sweden), Didier Burkhalter (Switzerland), Ahmet Davutoğlu (Turkey), Leonid Koschara (Ukraine) and William Hague (United Kingdom).

World Day 2
From a meeting held in the Faculty of Law of the University of Kabul:
The questions and remarks raised by the audience (mainly students from the faculty of law of Kabul and NGO activists invited) showed a deep and sincere inclination in favor of death penalty.
As Afghanistan is at war (and has been during the last 35 years), it is understandable ; Robert Badinter mentioned in his "famous" speech in 1981 : war time and abolition are not compatible.
The debate was calm and interesting but for the Afghan students, it's clear that the death penalty is needed
- to deter criminals
- to punish criminals
- in a country where the police is weak
- in a country where the justice system is weak
- in a country where terrorism is widespread
- in a country where sharia law is a source of law (and sharia law allows in some specific cases and under specific circumstances the death penalty)
- in a country that has no money to keep detainees in prison for their whole life
- in a country where the prisons are not well guarded and criminals can easily escape.

World  Day 3
          Statement by the African Commission on World Day against the Death Penalty
On 10 October 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), joins the rest of the world in celebrating the 11th World Day against the Death Penalty. The theme for this year’s celebration is: ‘’Stop Crime, Not Lives’’.

Scientific research on the impact of the death penalty has shown that its dissuasive aspects are not more effective than those of other forms of punishment, such as life in prison. By executing murderers, child rapists and other perpetrators of barbaric acts in order to calm the grief of families of victims, we are moving closer to the notion of vengeance which brings to mind the ancient era of private justice when victims and their families took the law into their own hands. The death penalty, by its absolute and irreparable nature, is incompatible with any policy to reform offenders, is against any system based on respect for human beings, impedes the unity and reconciliation of people emerging from conflict or serious crimes, and jeopardises criminal justice by making it absolute whereas it has to remain attentive to possible errors.  
In Africa, 17 countries have abolished the death penalty in their laws and justice systems, while 20 other States have observed a de facto moratorium for more than ten years. African states that have legally abolished the death penalty are Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, SaoTome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Togo.
The African Commission is concerned by the wave of executions that have recently been carried out in some African countries, in particular in the Edo State of Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Botswana and The Gambia where nine people who had spent years on death row were secretly executed.  
The African Commission is further concerned at the increasing number of death sentences handed down by courts which increases the number of people on death row.
 Justice Minister of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has thrown his weight behind the anti-death penalty campaign and pledged to push for the abolition of capital punishment.
Mnangagwa, who is a death penalty survivor, was addressing activists after a march organized by Amnesty International Zimbabwe to mark the World’s Death Penalty Day in Harare.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Death Penalty in Thailand

Death Penalty Statistics - 30th September 2013

Condemned Prisoners
Legal Process Complete                         112
Before Appeal Court                              430
Before Supreme Court                           152
     Total                                                 694

Legal Process Complete - Details
  Crime                           Male         Female           Total
  Drug Cases                    41                8                  49
  Homicide Cases             62                1                  63
  Combined                    103                9                112

Source: Department of Corrections
As provided to Union for Civil Liberty: 7th October 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Where does Thailand stand?

Prospects for abolition in Thailand
One: prolongation of present status. Statements have been made by high ranking officials of the Ministry of Justice that further executions are unlikely. In 2019 ten years will have passed since the last executions and Thailand will be a considered ‘de facto’ abolitionist by the international community. However ‘de facto’ abolition may be abandoned at any time and is not a true abolition which consists of explicit legal declaration and acceptance of the requirements of international conventions.
Two: meanwhile Thailand is pursuing a plan for abolition first proposed in the second five year human
rights plan, 2009 to 20013, and reappearing in more detailed form in the draft of a third five year plan, 2014 – 2018.This latest proposal outlines a programme which will include research on required legal and constitutional changes, plans on consultation of public opinion in four regional meetings, and a subsequent debate in parliament on the death penalty. The programme is being organized by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice, supported by an academic team in charge of the research and presentation of the results.
The proposals of the 3rd Human Rights Plan are defective in several ways. Abolition of the death penalty in any country depends on political leadership and a strong will to achieve abolition. Such a will and leadership are absent in Thailand. This is reflected in an inadequate budget of two million baht available to the Department responsible for the planned activities, and the lack of any public statement of government intent or interest.
Besides, there is no mention of a campaign to inform the public of the issues involved in abolition or retention of the death penalty.
The policy outlined in option One may be seen as an avoidance of the issue by politicians not daring to favour an unpopular policy.