October 17, 2017

Death penalty abolition 'not easy' in Thailand

It is not easy to abolish the death penalty in Thailand, the director-general of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department says. 

Department chief Pitikarn Pitikarn Sithidej told a meeting held on Tuesday to consider the possibility of abolishing the capital punishment.  Also present was Colin Steinbach, head of the political, press... 

Also present was Colin Steinbach, head of the political, press and information office of the EU delegation to Thailand.  

The meeting is held to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Oct 10. 

Ms Pitikarn said that abolishing the death penalty does not mean offenders will not receive punishment they deserve.

But the aim is to end the death penalty, which is seen as a cruel, inhumane, and uneconomical means of punishment, and to reduce the chance of wrongful execution. 

The death penalty goes against the human rights principles and most prisoners on death row are the underprivileged who cannot afford to hire capable lawyers, Ms Pitikarn said. 

There is no proof that the death penalty can deter crime, she added. 

So far, 141 countries have abolished the death penalty, while 57 still have it, she said. 

For Thailand, the last death penalty was administered in August 2009 and if no execution is carried out by 2019, the death penalty in Thailand will effectively be suspended, Ms Pitikarn said. 

However, Ms Pitikarn admitted that it is difficult to abolish the death penalty in Thailand, partly because many people in society do not understand that there are alternatives to capital punishment. 

Many see the death penalty as a means to get revenge, she said, adding the abolition must also involve legal amendments and opinions must be sought from all stakeholders, a time-consuming process. 

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