The Thai authorities must recognise that the death penalty has no place in any criminal justice system and halt any plans to carry out further executions, said Amnesty International, a month after the state carried out its first execution in almost nine years.
In an open letter to Thailand’s Minister of Justice, the global human rights organization called on the government to abolish the death penalty after a 26-year-man was executed by lethal injection for aggravated murder on 18 June 2018. It was the first execution since August 2009.
“No matter what the crime, who the prisoner is or the method of execution, nothing can justify the use of the death penalty. It is a despicable punishment that has no place in any criminal justice system”, said Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Thailand Campaigner.
“The Thai government must reaffirm its commitment to human rights by immediately establishing a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty, as a first step towards its full abolition. The truth is, the death penalty does not have a unique deterrent effect on crime. It does not bring closure to family members of the alleged victim. It is never a solution.”
On 18 June 2018, Thailand executed a 26-year-old man for aggravated murder in the country’s first execution since August 2009, which followed a period of no executions since 2003. Figures provided by the Ministry of Justice in March 2018 state that 510 people, including 94 women, were on death row of whom 193 had exhausted all final appeals. Almost half of these 193 are believed to have been sentenced for drug-related offences.
While the imposition of the mandatory death penalty is prohibited under international law, the death penalty in Thailand remains mandatory for a number of offences, including aggravated murder. Many of the offences for which the death penalty may be applied do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” to which the use of the death penalty must be restricted under international law in countries where it has not yet been abolished.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally, for all cases and under any circumstances.
As of today, 106 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and 142 in total are abolitionist in law or practice.