Wednesday, May 21, 2008

With the objective of enlisting religious leaders in the movement for abolition of the death penalty in Thailand, UCL, with the cooperation of the National Human Rights Commission, is organizing a set of seminars throughout the country. The seminars are sponsored by the European Union Commission, the Embassy of the Netherlands, and the Embassy of France.

Time Table of Seminars: June – July

Seminar 1 Buddhism and the Death Penalty

Date: Postponed

Location: Central Thailand

Seminar 2 Buddhism and the Death Penalty

Date: 30th June 2008

Location: Mahachulalonghorn University

(Wat Suan Dok)


Seminar 3 Buddhism and the Death Penalty

Date: 7th July 2008

Location: MahachulalonghornUniversity

(Wat Mahawanaram)


Seminar 4 Islam and the Death Penalty

Date: 12th July 2008

Location: Islamic Centre of Thailand, Bangkok

Seminar 5 Religion and the Death Penalty

Date: 15th July 2008

Location: Office of National Human Rights Commission


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Is this the model which Thailand follows?

In Thailand, the charge is often heard that opposition to the death penalty is an imposition of 'western' values. In fact Thailand has learned the trade of lethal injection from the US and points to the US as justification for Thai practice. One may ask whether the following is the model which Thailand follows:

The release of the third death row inmate in six months in North Carolina last week is raising fresh questions about whether states are supplying capital-murder defendants with adequate counsel, even as an execution on Tuesday night in Georgia ended a seven-month national suspension.

In all three cases, North Carolina appeals courts found that evidence that would have favored the defendants was withheld from defense lawyers by prosecutors or investigators. In two of the cases, including that of Levon Jones, who was released on Friday after 14 years on death row, the courts said the defendants’ lawyers had failed to mount an adequate defense. Nationwide, Mr. Jones’s release was the sixth in a year.

John Holdridge, director of the A.C.L.U. Capital Punishment Project, which provided representation for Mr. Jones, said the successful appeals showed that the problem with the death penalty was not the method of execution — the issue ruled on by the Supreme Court last month — but instead “poor people getting lousy lawyers.”

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bang Kwang Prison - one of the worst in world

Bang Kwang Prison where most prisoners condemned to death in Thailand are held has been listed by TIMESONLINE as one of the 10 worst prisons in the world, with the following citation:

Bangkwang jail, Thailand
Tempted to take a little marijuana on your fortnight package tour of Thailand? It may be unwise unless you want to end up in the infamous "Bangkok Hilton".
In recent years the prison's population has trebled to 7,000 and the guards are outnumbered 50-1. Every inmate there is serving more than 25 years and for the first three months of their sentence each is forced to wear leg irons.
Inside Building 10, prisoners are held in solitary confinement in pitch black cells two metres square wearing "elephant chains" for months on end.
"Thai prisons are tough." says Director of Prisons Khun Nattee in a superfluous warning to tourists. "You don't want to be in Bangkwang."

In recent days UCL was involved in helping poor Muslims from the South of Thailand pay a once a year visit to their, husbands, sons, fathers. It was a trying procedure, perhaps not maliciously difficult but, given the overcrowding and lack of personnel, an absolutely unacceptable treatment of men condemned to death.