Saturday, November 16, 2019

Guilty or not, the death penalty is wrong\


1. Murder happens: Cain slew Abel
2. The death penalty is ineffective, it does not deter crime
3. Execution perpetuates the cycle of violence, a further killing does not undo an earlier killing.

Yes, there is a strong argument against the death penalty that is based on failures of the justice system that result in the execution of innocents. But this should never be used to justify the execution of the truly guilty.  The basic abolitionist stand is outlined above. The question of true guilt is a matter for restorative justice which must take its course in a legal system that abjures the death penalty as an aberration of a primitive justice that relied on torture, punishments such as hanging, drawing, quartering, and burned women at the stake.

Monday, November 11, 2019

ADPAN (Anti Death Penalty Asian Network)

Death Penalty Thailand has been represented in ADPAN since its foundation in 2006. Death Penalty Thailand attended the 3rd Biennial General Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 8th November 2019 as representative of the Union for Civil Liberty of Thailand. While ADPAN may be a small grouping of death penalty activists on the world scene, its area of activity is immense and of premier importance in the struggle for abolition of the death penalty. This little known grouping deserves wider recognition and the following extract from the ADPAN website introduces its aims and background.

"The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) is a regional network of organizations and individual members committed to working for the abolition of the death penalty in Asia-Pacific.
Launched in 2006 on the World Day against the Death Penalty, ADPAN was founded in Hong Kong following a Consultative Meeting organized by Amnesty International. It answered a call from local abolitionists to organise regionally to end the death penalty across Asia and the Pacific.
In 2012, at a Consultative Meeting in Hong Kong, it was decided that ADPAN will be transformed into an independent network, and towards that end a Transition Group was formed.
In 2014, at its first General Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) members approved ADPAN’s Constitution, and ADPAN’s first Executive Committee was elected.

  • More people are executed in Asia-Pacific than in the rest of the world combined at a time when regionally and in the world, the number of executions is declining.
  • 95% of the world’s population lives in countries that retain and use the death penalty.
  • 13 countries in the region have carried out executions in the past ten years.
  • Failures of justice in trials that end in a death sentence cannot be reversed. Unfair trials in death penalty cases are known and documented across the region.
  • The death penalty is not an effective deterrent to combat crime.
  • The majority of those that face the death penalty are poor or from the marginalised in society.
  • ADPAN maintains that the death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate form of cruel inhuman and degrading punishment.
Who We Are

A growing active network with members in 22 Asia-Pacific countries, ADPAN is independent of governments and any political or religious affiliation.
ADPAN members are civil society groups, organizations, networks of organizations, trade unions, lawyers and/or judges associations, consumer groups, professional bodies, academic groups and individual persons from Asia-Pacific: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore,  Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam.
ADPAN Partners are organizations, groups and/or individual persons, not members of ADPAN, who are also committed to the mission and work of ADPAN from Netherlands, Italy, France, Denmark, the UK, USA, and Spain.
What We Do
ADPAN campaigns and lobbies for an end to the death penalty across the Asia Pacific region. We do this by:
  • Joining in actions and lobbying against the death penalty, especially in countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Appealing on behalf of individuals facing execution from the region.
  • Issuing news releases, joint open letters, and media statements.
  • Producing cross-regional reports and materials challenging the need for the death penalty such as unfair trials.
  • Sharing information and activities using social media: Twitter, Facebook, this blog.
  • Supporting the establishment of national coalitions against the death penalty.
  • Contributing to national and regional strategies in support of abolition.
  • Attending conferences to talk about regional developments on the death penalty."

The meeting on the 8th November confirmed the vitality of ADPAN. 24 people attended. The meeting was informal and spirited, Reflected was a tidal change in the Asian region, tentative but full of hope that abolition was possible and in some cases on the way, in contrast to a creeping approval of a return to support of the death penalty among the youth of Europe. (See the 54% of young Belgians approving a restoration of the death penalty, reported in FONDAPOL, (,  "Democracies under pressure", May 19, 2019). A tidal wave of change in ASIA in favour of abolition will see a global end to the ancient curse of the death penalty. Perhaps even Belarus will yield!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Current Numbers of Prisoners Condemned to Death

                                                   Thailand.  Death Penalty Statistics.

                                        Men                                                                251
                                        Women                                                            56 
                                                           Total                           307 

                                Source: Department of Corrections      12 September 2019

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

A Voice from the Past

"To prevent the abolition of the death penalty, to seek to demonstrate its goodness, is to defend it...
From the moment I could feel, I have been horrified by this penalty. From the moment I could judge, I judged it to be completely immoral. I will never be known for my utilitarian solutions, but if there is one thing I know about utility, it is the complete uselessness of capital punishment."
José Martí, November 1871

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Death Penalty Statistics; Update

Total prison population of Thailand: 382,895 (M 332,751: F 50,144)  2019 - 04 - 01

Condemned to death 558 (M 471: F 87)
- on drug charges 321 (M 241:  F 80)
- on other charges 228 (M 221:  F 7)
- on security issues 9 (M 9)

It is noteworthy that the majority of women are condemned to death for the opportunistic crime of drug dealing, very few for crimes of violence
For the first time, there is a category of death penalty for security issues. No explanation is provided.
In recent days there has been news of the dismantlement of a floating "seastead", located just outside the 12 mile sea limit of Thailand's territorial waters. The two owners, a male US national, and a Thai female, have fled and, to the astonishment of the world press an announcement by theThai navy claims that they are subject to a death penalty on a securiy issue.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly" Macbeth

In a news item referring to the Lukman case on September 18 of last year, subject of an earlier posting on this website, Prime Minister Mahathir, obviously speaking fom the viewpoint of his earlier intention to totally abolish the death penalty, expressed a readiness to review the case. Words blowing in the wind, in the about turn recently reported and subject of the previous posting.
"Kuala Lumpur: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir has indicated that the government should review the case of a man who had been sentenced to death for having medicinal cannabis oil.
Dr Mahathir said: " I think we should review that," when asked about the case of Muhammad Lukman, a 29-year-old father of one who was sentenced to death for possessing, processing and distributing medical marijuana (cannabis oil).
He was arrested in 2015 for the possession of 3.1 litres of cannabis oil, 279 grams of compressed cannabis and 1.4kg of substance containing tetrahydrocan nabininaol (THC). Muhammad Lukman was given the death sentence by the Shah Alam High Court on Aug 30preme light.” The Star/2018/09/18

However, Prime Minister Mahathir, while retaining Malaysia's attachment to the death penalty, you can invoke “General comment No. 36 (2018) on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on the right to life”. 
The document urges strict observance conditions in international law on imposing executions, emphasising that the "right to life" is the supreme right from which no derogation is permitted by situations of armed conflict or other public emergencies. The consequence is that in states which have not yet abolished the death penalty, "it must not be applied except for the most serious crimes, and then only in the most exceptional cases and under the strictest limits."

Voila! No need to go through a delay prone constitutional change Apply this criterion to the Lukman case, prohibiting his execution and ordering his release. Leave it to the dogs of war who have forced retention of the death penalty on you to invalidate the triple legal bond in the above quotation from the authoritative comment on your binding international UN ICCPR treaty.
 "But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail"  Lady Macbeth

Monday, March 18, 2019

"The native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought" Hamlet

"Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) is saddened by the alleged U-turn by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his cabinet members who had decided earlier to abolish the death penalty, but now will apparently only abolish the mandatory death penalty.

On March 13, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin was reported as saying in Parliament that only the mandatory death penalty, which is the penalty for nine offences under the Penal Code and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, will be repealed.

It must be noted that the cabinet under Mahathir had, at a meeting in October 2018, decided to repeal not just the mandatory death penalty, but the death penalty for 33 offences under eight acts.

“The cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and it will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, which will begin on Oct 15, said Liew Vui Keong (Minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister’s Department)… ‘All death penalties will be abolished. Full stop.’”

This decision was applauded worldwide, and even celebrated at the recent 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Brussels, which also highlighted the United Nations General Assembly’s seventh resolution for the moratorium on executions pending abolition that was adopted on Dec 17, 2018, with 121 countries in favour of it, including Malaysia for the very first time.

Abolition of the death penalty usually occurs as the end point of long process and depends on the firm decision of a leader endowed with strong conviction and courage. The ancient curse of vengence,  the "law of the talon" is deeply embedded in our conscience and cultures; the transit to abolitionis is always contended. We are not informed of the hidden opposition and failure of Malaysia's prime minister to carry through his promise. We must wait another day, another leader. A great opportunity has been lost. The Philippines dithers, Thailand threw away the opportunity in the final year of the observance of a declared moratorium which would have achieved de facto abolition.
One may salute Timor Leste which achieved independence in 17 years of struggle, and proudly declared rejection of the death penalty in its founding constitution.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Death Penalty; do all opinions have equal right of respect?

“In some countries people say that the death penalty is a deterrent and it works. No, it doesn’t work because the death penalty is an act of violence and there is always the possibility of errors” Alex Mayer MEP

Are all opinions to be respected equally? It is a long held liberal and democratic principle that all opinions have equal right of repect. Countries that believe in the efficacy of the death penalty, such as Thailand, should be free to retain the death penalty, execute those condemned to death, and have the right to do so.

Now, it happens that the Council of Europe, with a membership of countries from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific, imposes abolition of the death penalty on its member states, 47 in all, thus creating the largest group of abolitionist states in the world. What if a retentionist country approaches the Council of Europe for funding in a truly deserving cause, let us say for famine relief, or basic educational development? Can the Council of Europe impose as a condition of funding, complience with abolition of the death penalty to which it obligates all its own member states? Recalling the historical fact that the current poverty of African and South American countries is due to colonial exploitation and current prosperity of Council of Europe countries, does the latter have the moral right to impose human rights options on the former. In a world where advance in human rights valuation is slowly leading to advance in abolition over retentionist countries, the debate over values is likely to assume the form of might over right when a triumphant majority is faced with a recalcitrant minority who cling for whatever reason to a retentionist stance.

(At this stage in the argument we  invite our readers to contribute viewpoints)

Friday, February 01, 2019

Asia Bibi declared free by Pakistan's Supreme Court

30 Jan 2019 / international Print

Blasphemy acquittal upheld by Pakistan Supreme Court

Pakistan's Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a Christian woman’s acquittal on blasphemy charges, according to a BBC report.
The Supreme Court has upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi's conviction and death sentence.
Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after an accusation that she insulted the Prophet Muhammad. Bibi spent eight years on death row. She has always maintained her innocence.
Last October, the Supreme Court's decision quashing her sentence led to protests by hardliners.
"Based on merit, this petition is dismissed," Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said in court yesterday.
Asia Bibi could not leave Pakistan while an appeal request was pending.
Amnesty International said in a statement that Asia Bibi should be allowed reunite with her family and seek safety in a country of her choice.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Outline of talk on Execution of Women, January 14th Bangkok

                                          Ginggaew Lorsoongnern, Executed, Thailand
                                       Mary Jane Veloso - sentenced to death in Indonesia
                                       Asia Bibi, Death sentence under review in Pakistan

14th January “Women, Imprisonment and the Death Penalty in Thailand”
  1. “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar”

12 year journey, the way still unclear

  1. Assent of PUBLIC OPINION!
    UNGA 2018 123 countries 2016 117 countries
UCL campaigns over 12 yearss
a. Legal arguments
b. Religious arguments
c. Drugs
d. Case histories, “Roads to Death”
e. Rights of victims
f. Terrorist deaths

NOW: Abolition itself 
3. Experience of Robert Badinter: “I dreamt of a justice expressed in terms of liberty, the French people wanted a justice based on security”
Spoke throughout France on the right to life, met with disagreement and objections, always the same arguments. As in Thailand.

“Justice of reinsertion, or justice of elimination?”

“Lethal criminality does not depend on the presence or absence of the death penalty”

In 1981, François Mitterrand was elected president, and Badinter became the Minister of Justice. Among his first actions was a bill to the French Parliament that abolished the death penalty for all crimes, which the Parliament voted after heated debate on 30 September 1981
    4. Example of Ruth Ellis, executed in UK, 1954, women not to be executed.
    Mongolia: Abolition of death penalty for women 2002. Total abolition 2012
Abolition of execution of women. (Date of total abolition)
Austria (1950) The last woman sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Juliane Hummel. She was pole hanged for the murder of her five year old daughter, Anna, on the 2nd of January 1900 at Vienna.
Belgium (1996) The last woman sentenced to death by an ordinary court was Euphrasie-Félicie Deroux, for the murder of her child at the Cour d'assises of the province of Hainaut. She was guillotined at Mons on the 22nd of June 1846.
Denmark (1930). The last official execution was conducted in Copenhagen on ”Rødovre Mark” when Ane Cathrine Andersdatter was beheaded by axe on the 21st of December 1861. She had been sentenced to death for the murder of three of her five children.
England (1969). Ruth Ellis was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint at Holloway prison in North London on Wednesday, the 13th of July, 1955 for the murder of her boyfriend David Blakely
France (1981). On the 22nd of April 1949 Germaine Leloy-Godefroy (age 31) became the last woman executed in France, when she was guillotined for murdering her husband
Switzerland (1942). The last woman executed in Switzerland was Geneviève Guénat, who was beheaded by sword for murder at Delsberg, in the canton of Bern, on the 7th of September 1861.
Ireland (1990). Annie Walsh was hanged at Dublin’s Mountjoy prison on the 5th of August 1925, together with her nephew, Michael Talbot for the murder of her husband, Edward.

Thailand's 3rd Human rights plan, envisaged Moratorium (“Abolition) by end of 2014

5. Current Statistics for death sentences in Thailand
Total prison population 349,804 (M 303,717 F 46,087): 82% of imprisoned women are mothers
Condemned to death 517 (M 415 F 102)
- on drug charges 296 (M 201 F 95)
- on other charges 221 (M 214 F 7)
Currently 88 women: Totally unacceptable prison conditions, (“Centres of evil”!) for these, and all women prisoners

  1. Horror of execution of women
    “Successful” and botched executions
    Ginggaew Lorsoongnern,
    Tran Thi Bich Hang, see cover
    Mary Jane Veloso
    (see witch hunting and burning, also Thailand's intolerable prison conditions for women
The Thai women executed since 1932 were:
1.Yai Sonthibumroong, 25 February 1942
2. Ginggaew Lorsoongnern, 13 January 1979,  accomplice to murder of kidnapped child
3. Samai Pan-in, 24 November 1999, drug dealer

  1. Women
“ But how can we mechanize washing, cuddling, consoling, dressing, and feeding a child, providing sexual services, or assisting those who are ill or elderly and not self-sufficient? What machine could incorporate the skillls and affects needed for these tasks? Attempts have been made with the creation of nursebots and interactive lovebots, and it is possible that in the future we may see the production of mechanical mothers. But even assuming that we could afford such devices, we must wonder at what emotional cost we could introduce them in our homes in replacement of living labour...domestic work, and especially the care of children, constitutes most of the work on this planet, is of a highly relational nature and hardly subject to mechanization”

Women are irreplaceable!
So don't execute them!