Shocking resumption of the death penalty condemned

Press release

(Bangkok, Paris) Thailand’s resumption of executions is an affront to human rights and a betrayal of its numerous commitments towards abolition, FIDH and its member organization Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) said today.

According to Thailand’s Department of Corrections under the Ministry of Justice, between 3pm and 6pm today, Theerasak Longji, 26, was executed by lethal injection at an unspecified location. Mr. Theerasak was found guilty of a premeditated murder he had committed in Trang on 17 July 2012.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms Thailand’s resumption of the death penalty. Today’s execution is inexplicable, unjustified, and contradicts the numerous commitments Thailand has made at the national and international level towards the abolition of the death penalty.”

Debbie Stothard, FIDH Secretary-General

Prior to today, Thailand’s last execution was carried out on 24 August 2009, when two men, Bundit Jaroenwanit, 45, and Jirawat Poompreuk, 52, were put to death by lethal injection with just one-hour’s notice at Bang Khwang Prison, located just north of Bangkok. The two had been convicted of drug trafficking on 29 March 2001. Thailand would have achieved the status of de facto abolitionist, had it not carried out any executions before 24 August 2019.

“Today marks the latest unenviable achievement for Thailand under the rule of the military junta. The hurried resumption of executions after almost nine years shows that complete abolition is never achieved while capital punishment remains on the books.”

Danthong Breen, UCL Senior Advisor

The Department of Correction’s announcement of Mr. Theerasak’s execution justified the resumption of the death penalty by grouping Thailand with the United States and China (the world’s top executioner) as countries that focus on “protecting society and the general public from crimes more than focusing on the rights and freedoms of wrongdoers.”

As of April 2018, there were 517 prisoners (415 men and 102 women) under death sentence in Thailand. Forty-eight percent of the men and 93% percent of the women were sentenced to death for drug-related offenses.

FIDH and UCL urge Thailand to immediately halt all executions, announce an official moratorium on capital punishment, sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and vote in favor of a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in December 2018.

FIDH, a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), and UCL reiterate their strong opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances.

Press contact
Ms. Maryna Chebat (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
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