Monday, June 18, 2018

Thailand ends Moratorium

Today, 18th June, 26 year old Teerasak Longji was executed in Thailand by lethal injection, ending a nine year moratorium which next year would have earned Thailand de facto abolitionist status. Announcement of the execution by the Department of Corrections referred to the savagery of the murder which led to the death sentence, carried out with a knife stabbing that inflicted 24 stab wounds. The ascribed motive was robbery of a mobile phone and money.
The Ministry said that the Court of First Instance, the Appeal Court, and the Supreme Court had each handed down the death penalty. Longji claimed his innocence at the three court proceedings. It is an anomaly of Thai justice that those who plead guilty and express regret generally receive a reduction of sentence,resulting in a sentence of life imprisonment rather than execution. Those who protest innocence throughout, as is the right of all accused, which would include those who are indeed innocent, face sentence of death. Such practice may induce the innocent to plead guilty.
The execution goes against statements of government policy that the moratorium intended abolition, and conflicts with an acceptance of the arguments for abolition expressed in several discussion meetings of the Ministry. The execution appears to have been hurried at short notice, as happened in the previous execution in 2009,later referred to by a government politician as a 'mistake'. A reference in the announcement to the execution policies of the US and China as a justification for today's execution is cynical. The execution is a severe set-back for progress to abolition in the South-East Asian region where counties are happy to justify their own actions by the example of others.
deathpenaltythailand deeply regrets reporting this execution after an intermission of nine years.

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