Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Change in Draft Constitution favours abolition in Thailand

Charter drafters pave way for end to death penalty

The Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) yesterday decided to remove the expression "death penalty" from its draft charter, thus paving the way for a possible future campaign to eventually end capital punishment in Thailand.

The assembly also supported a move that enables police to search suspects without a court warrant.

Removal of the words "death penalty" does not automatically mean an end to the death penalty, but future moves to end it will face fewer obstacles.

"It's good that the capital punishment issue has been adjusted [out of the charter] as it reflects the thinking of a society that doesn't resort to violence," said CDA member Kannika Bantherngjit.

"We should no longer resort to an eye for an eye and should look at the real cause of crime. Strong punishment is not right. It leads to society solving problems by force."

Postscript: In a referendum on 19th September the new constitution was accepted by a small majority of Thailand's population. While welcoming the omission of a phrase relating to the death penalty, we regret the passing of this unsatisfactory constitution forced on the country without consultation or freedom of discussion.

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