Friday, January 13, 2006

Response to Thaksin call for execution as remedy

Response to “PM: Horton’s killers must be put to death”
Postbag, Bangkok Post 13th January 2006

The murder of Katherine Horton on Koh Samui is a horrendous crime which must be punished. Prime Minister Thaksin has called for the maximum sentence, but he should be advised that execution of the killers would also be abhorrent. His statement that a maximum sentence, implying the death penalty, would ‘give remedy to the relatives and the British Government’ is mistaken. The UK, as he may easily verify by consulting the UK Embassy, has vehemently rejected, without exception, the death penalty, and fully supports European Community initiatives to have it abolished worldwide. It would be totally inconsistent with this stand to find remedy in an execution for a crime committed against its citizen, however horrendous that crime might be.
Prime Minister Thaksin should turn his attention to details of the police interrogation which has been described as lengthy. He should emphasize strongly that such an interrogation must not include torture which would render subsequent legal proceedings suspect, as would so called ‘enactments’ of the crime. Such crimes are not unique to Thailand; remedies must be sought, both in the immediate improvement of protection and in education against a culture of violence. Thailand is among the minority of countries in the world which still practice the death penalty. It is widely recognized that it is neither a satisfactory retaliation for past crimes, nor a deterrent to their future occurrence. To abolish the death penalty is itself a powerful statement of the inviolability of life on which to build a more peaceful and secure society.
Danthong Breen
President, Union for Civil Liberty

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