Asean Moves Boldly To End Death Penalty (Bangkok Post, 10/10/2016)

# This was an opinion of Seree Nonthasoot, Thailand’s representative to the AICHR, that was published by the Bangkok Post.

To mark World Day Against the Death Penalty today, Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have reason to revisit and recommit efforts to abolishing capital punishment.

Much work remains to be done. Thailand, which has not executed anyone for seven years, and a few other Asean countries with capital punishment continue to hand down the death penalty on drug-related offences, which is unlikely to deter crime. It is the ultimate denial of the right to life and a violation of fundamental human rights.

Of the world’s 198 countries, 102 have legally abolished the death penalty for all crimes. An additional 32 countries are abolitionist in practice since they have not executed anyone in the last 10 years and they have a policy or commitment not to carry out executions. Six countries reserve the death sentence only for the most serious crimes of culpable homicide and murders. Of the 58 countries that have not abolished the death penalty, just 25 carried out executions in 2015. However, of those 25 exceptions, four are member states of Asean. Thailand is not among them.

Though the death penalty is still on our statutes, no one has been executed since 2009. However, we still have prisoners sitting on death row and, following a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court in July, those on death row may be held in shackles permanently.

Thailand is among the first group of countries that voted in 1948 to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 3 of the UDHR states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”, while Article 5 confirms that “no one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

About half of those on death row in Thailand and a few other Asean countries are convicted of drug-related crimes. In accordance with Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a party, the death penalty should only be applicable in the case of the most serious crimes. Drug offences hardly fall under that category. I therefore support the initiative by the Thai Ministry of Justice to embark on the reform of drug offences such as those related to methamphetamine.

Crime determent has always been the rationale for handing down the death penalty. Empirical data proves this wrong. For example, drug use has been steadily on the rise in the region despite the death penalty. This clearly indicates that capital punishment does not work as a deterrent and it is time to reconsider it.

Studies carried out in different countries paint a consistent picture. The overwhelming majority of people who end up on death row are poor and not well-educated. They cannot afford proper legal counsel. Many, such as migrant workers, do not even understand the charges of which they are accused.

Further, many drug offenders are duped in the first place. They are executed for crimes they were not even aware of committing, often without even knowing the kingpins who planned their downfall. Once they are prosecuted, drug barons can easily recruit other vulnerable groups who are not aware of the grim fates they will be facing.

To tackle crime, we need to find ways to reduce it. Thailand’s National Human Rights Plan of Action (2014-2018) which outlines a plan to abolish the death penalty is a promising step. It suggests an opportunity and an obligation for civil society to work harder to influence this movement and to do more to develop a regional aversion to the taking of life by the state. But much needs to be done.

At the regional level, Asean governments have formally set the community on a bold and clear 10-year direction of being “people-centred, people-oriented” as well as rule-based. What is happening now seems to be the opposite. We are seeing thousands of people in the region being summarily and extra-judicially executed for allegedly being involved in drug crimes.

A lesson from this alarming phenomenon is the dynamics of politics that can equally lead to progress or regress. We cannot afford to be complacent; even countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and have thus committed themselves to abolishing the death penalty can create fanciful ways to bypass that obligation and institute state-instructed and inspired programmes to kill their own people.

I welcome the recent formation of the Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Asean (CADPA) among like-minded persons and groups to campaign for the end of the death penalty. CADPA has launched a campaign called “End Crime, Not Life”, aiming to raise public awareness of the difficulties with the application of the death penalty and to focus on improving criminal justice systems. It is time for all of us to stand up for a justice system that punishes offenders in a fair and appropriate manner. The region’s people-centred and people-oriented vision must be underpinned by its drive towards abolishing the penalty.

# Seree Nonthasoot is Thailand’s representative to the AICHR. This article expresses his personal views.

Source: Bangkok Post, 10/10/2016

 

 

 

Going backwards: The death penalty in Southeast Asia (FIDH)

* FIDH came up with a report on Sourtheast Asia and the Death Penalty – follow link to see report. We tried to copy and paste the report here – but the time taken for the formatting is long (So, work on progress). The original report have pictures and is easier to read. FIDH is not yet a Partner of ADPAN – but some ADPAN members collaborated with FIDH for this report.
 

Going backwards: The death penalty in Southeast Asia

10/10/2016
Report
(Paris) Over the past year, Southeast Asia has witnessed significant setbacks with regard to the abolition of the death penalty, FIDH said in a new report published today, on the occasion of the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty.

The report, titled Going backwards: The death penalty in Southeast Asia,” provides an update on the status of the death penalty in the region since last year’s World Day. It also provides important recommendations to governments in the region with a view to make genuine and tangible progress towards the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.

“Too many governments in Southeast Asia lack the vision and political will to eliminate the death penalty – a barbaric practice that has no place in today’s world. It is imperative that all retentionist countries in Southeast Asia immediately declare official moratoria on all executions as an initial step towards the complete abolition of capital punishment.”

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President.

Since October 2015, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have all carried out executions. It is unknown whether any executions were carried out in Vietnam, where statistics on the death penalty continue to be classified as ‘state secrets.’

In the name of combating drug trafficking, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is rapidly becoming Southeast Asia’s top executioner. The Philippines, which effectively abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 2006, is considering reinstating capital punishment as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ill-conceived and disastrous ‘war on drugs.’

Slow or no progress towards the complete abolition of the death penalty for all crimes has been observed in Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Laos, and Thailand – countries that have attained, or are close to attaining, the status of de facto abolitionist.

Across retentionist countries in Southeast Asia, a disproportionate number of death sentences continues to be imposed for drug-related offenses. Countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and that continue to impose capital punishment for drug-related offenses are in contravention of their own international legal obligations. Article 6 of the ICCPR reserves the death penalty solely for the “most serious crimes,” a threshold that international jurisprudence has repeatedly stated drug-related offenses do not meet.

In many Southeast Asian countries, governments maintain a high degree of secrecy over information concerning the use of the death penalty. This practice is contrary to international standards on the use of the death penalty. UN jurisprudence has found that the lack of transparency in the application and imposition of the death penalty can result in inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under Article 7 of the ICCPR and Article 1 of the Convention against Torture (CAT). Such secrecy also contravenes the public’s right to information under Articles 14 and 19 of the ICCPR.

The denial of fair trial rights and due process also remain a major concern in connection with the prosecution of cases involving the death penalty. In July 2016, several inmates facing the firing squad in the latest round of executions in Indonesia alleged that they had been convicted based on confessions obtained through torture.

The 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty is raising awareness about the application of the death penalty for terrorism-related offenses. All Southeast Asian countries retain the death penalty for terrorism. However, the application of such laws is subject to abuse and arbitrary application because governments define this crime in very broad and vague terms. In addition, many alleged violent acts of terrorism do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes.”

“The pretext of using the death penalty to fight wars on drugs and terrorism are merely a quick fix for governments who are eager to show they are tough on crime. The reality is that the death penalty has no deterrent effect on the commission of crimes, particularly those that are drug-related or alleged acts of terrorism.”

Florence Bellivier, FIDH Deputy-Secretary General.

FIDH, a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), reiterates its total opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances.

October 2016 / N° 682a
GOING BACKWARDS
The death penalty in Southeast Asia
Cover photo: An anti-death penalty advocate displays a placard in front of the Supreme Court in Manila on 26 January 2004 to call on the government to stop the scheduled executions of two convicted kidnappers. © Joel Nito / AFP
TABle Of CONTeNTS
Introduction                                                                                                                     4
Brunei Darussalam: Death penalty under Sharia Criminal Code looms          5
Burma: Happy to remain de facto abolitionist                                                        5
Indonesia: Executions continue, more crimes punishable by death                6
Laos: No progress towards abolition                                                                          8
Malaysia: Reform stalled amid ongoing executions                                              9
Philippines: New President proposes reintroduction of capital punishment 10
Singapore: Government defends capital punishment, executions continue 12
Thailand: Dragging its feet on abolition                                                                   13
Vietnam: Capital punishment still on the books despite law amendments   15
The death penalty in Southeast Asia: Key facts & figures                                   16
Recommendations to countries in Southeast Asia                                                 17
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
4
Introduction
Over the past year, Southeast Asia has witnessed significant setbacks with regard to the abolition of the death penalty. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have all carried out executions. It is unknown whether any executions were carried out in Vietnam, where statistics of the death penalty continue to be classified as ‘state secrets.’ In the name of combating drug trafficking, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is rapidly becoming Southeast Asia’s top executioner. The Philippines, which effectively abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 2006, is considering
reinstating capital punishment as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ill-conceived and disastrous ‘war on drugs.’
Over the past year, slow or no progress towards the complete abolition of the death penalty for all crimes has been observed in Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Laos, and Thailand – countries that have attained, or are close to attaining, the status of
de facto abolitionist.
Across retentionist countries in Southeast Asia, a disproportionate number of death sentences continue to be imposed for drug-related offenses. Countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and that continue to impose capital punishment for drug-related offenses are in contravention of their own international legal obligations. Article 6 of the ICCPR reserves the death penalty solely for the “most serious crimes,” a threshold that
international jurisprudence has repeatedly stated drug-related offenses do not meet.
1 All retentionist countries in Southeast Asia allow the death penalty for terrorism. However, the application of such laws is subject to abuse and arbitrary application because governments define this crime in very broad and vague terms. In addition, many alleged violent terrorism acts do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes.”
2 In many Southeast Asian countries, governments maintain a high degree of
secrecy over information concerning the use of the death penalty. This practice is contrary to international standards on the use of the death penalty. United Nations (UN) jurisprudence has found that the lack of transparency in the application and imposition of the death penalty can result in inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment under Article 7 of the ICCPR and Article 1 of the Convention against Torture (CAT). It also contravenes the public’s right to information under Articles 14 and 19 of the ICCPR.
The denial of fair trial rights and due process also remain a major concern in connection with the prosecution of cases involving the death penalty. In July 2016, several inmates facing the firing squad in the latest round of executions in Indonesia alleged that they had been convicted based on evidence from confessions obtained through torture.
On the occasion of the 2016 World Day Against the Death Penalty, this report provides an update on the situation concerning the death penalty in Southeast Asia over the past year.
3 It also provides a set of recommendations to governments in the region with a view to make genuine and tangible progress towards the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.
1. FIDH, The Death Penalty For Drug Crimes in Asia, October 2015
2. The 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, 10 October 2016, is raising awareness about the application of the death penalty for terrorism-related offenses.
3. This report provides an update on the situation concerning the death penalty in Southeast Asia one year after the publication of FIDH’s report, “The Death Penalty For Drug Crimes in Asia ,” in October 2015.
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
5 Asia has the highest number of retentionist countries in the world. Eight of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states retain the death penalty. Only Cambodia and the Philippines have abolished capital punishment. East Timor, which is not an ASEAN member state, has also abolished the death penalty. None of the eight retentionist or de facto abolitionist ASEAN countries have established a moratorium on executions.
Brunei Darussalam:
Death penalty under Sharia Criminal Code looms Since May 2014, Brunei Darussalam has been implementing its Sharia Criminal Code, enacted on 22 October 2013.4
The 2013 Sharia Criminal Code prescribes death sentences for a broad range of offenses, including: robbery; rape; adultery; sodomy; blasphemy; and murder. It also specifies stoning as the specific method of execution for crimes of a sexual nature. 5
However, the imposition of capital punishment under the Sharia Criminal Code will be delayed until at least 2018.6
While there have been no executions in Brunei Darussalam since 1957, courts have continued to impose death sentences. Approximately five people are believed to be on death row in Brunei Darussalam. A number of laws, including the 1978 Misuse of Drugs Law, the 1982 Internal Security Act, the 1983 Public Order Act, and certain provisions of the Criminal Code prescribe the death penalty for offenses such as murder, drug trafficking, and unlawful possession of firearms and explosives.
Burma: Happy to remain de facto abolitionist
In the last 12 months, there was one reported instance of a court imposing a death sentence in Burma. On 4 December 2015, Rangoon’s Thanlyin Township Court sentenced a 47-year-old man, Tin Myint, to death under Article 302(1)(b) of the Criminal Code for the murder of two police officers in September 2015.7
On 22 January 2016, then-President Thein Sein commuted the death sentences of 77 prisoners to life imprisonment in a presidential amnesty.8
Burma’s Parliament has made minor progress in repealing legislation that prescribes the death penalty. On 4 October 2016, President Htin Kyaw signed a law that repealed the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, which allowed the death penalty for treason, abetting treason, and sabotage.9
4.AFP,Sultan of Brunei introduces death by stoning under new Sharia laws, 22 October 2013
5.UN News Centre,UN concerned at broad application of death penalty in Brunei’s revised penal code, 11 April 2014
6.Brunei Times,HM questions delay in Syariah law enforcement, 28 February 2016; UN Human Rights Council, 19th session, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 – Brunei
Darussalam, 30 January 2014, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/19/BRN/1, Para 9
7.DVB,Death penalty for three-time police killer, 4 December 2015
8.Myanmar Times,52 political prisoners released in amnesty, 22 January 2016
9.Global New Light of Myanmar,Colonial-era law repealed, Law revoking Emergency Provisions Act approved, 5 October 2016
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
An FIDH survey of political parties’ human rights commitments, conducted from August to September 2015, found that more than 52% of the political parties surveyed said that, if elected, they would introduce or vote in favor of legislation that abolished the death penalty. 10
In March 2016, the government released its full response to Burma’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which was held on 6 November 2015. With regard to the death penalty, the government did not accept nine recommendations that called for the establishment of a moratorium on all executions and the abolition of capital punishment. The government justified its decision by claiming that Burma retained the death penalty “to deter heinous crimes.”11
However, in a contradictory move, Burma accepted four recommendations that called for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.12
Burma has not executed anyone since 1988. Several articles of the Criminal Code allow the imposition of the death penalty for: premeditated murder; treason; abetting of mutiny; and giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure a conviction for a capital offense.
Laws such as the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law and the 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law prescribe capital punishment for drug-related offenses and human trafficking respectively.
Indonesia:executions continue, more crimes punishable by death
Over the past year, ongoing executions, a pledge to continue using the death penalty to combat drug trafficking, and the imposition of capital punishment for additional crimes marked a significant step backwards on Indonesia’s path towards abolition.
On 18 April 2016, President Joko Widodo reiterated his administration’s support for capital punishment for drug-related offenses.13
In June 2016, authorities stated that the executions of convicted drug traffickers would be prioritized, with plans to execute 16 in 2016 and 30 in 2017.14
As of 4 October 2016, there were 179 inmates on death row, 89 of whom had been convicted of drug-related offenses.15
10. FIDH, Half Empty: Burma’s political parties and their human rights commitments , November 2015
11. UN Human Rights Council, 31st session, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Myanmar , 10 March 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/31/13/Add.1, Para 12
12.UN Human Rights Council, 31st session, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Myanmar, 23 December 2015, UN Doc. A/HRC/31/13, Para 143.6; UN Human Rights Council, 31st session, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Myanmar , 10 March 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/31/13/Add.1, Para 7
13. AP, Indonesian president defends death penalty for drug offenses, 19 April 2016; Jakarta Post, Jokowi meets with German President, discusses death penalty, 19 April 2016
14. AAP, Indonesia to execute 16 this year, 14 June 2016
15. KontraS, Death penalty log in Indonesia , 4 October 2016; http://kontras.org/data/20161004_Data_Hukuman_Mati_di_Indonesia_2016_987jg2478n2y.pdf, accessed on 4 October 2016
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
Convicted drug smuggler on death row Mary Jane Veloso, a Philippine national, is escorted by Indonesian police as she arrives at a court in Sleman, Central Java, for a hearing of judicial review on 3 March 2015 after a plea for clemency was rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. © Suryo Wibowo / AFP
On 29 July 2016, shortly after midnight, Indonesian Freddy Budiman, South African Seck Osmane, and Nigerians Michael Igweh and Humphery Eleweke were executed by firing squad in Nusakambangan prison in Central Java.16
Authorities granted 10 other drug convicts (nine men and one woman), scheduled to face the firing squad at the same time, a last-minute reprieve “to conduct further study.”17
A lack of transparency usually surrounds executions. In contrast to the two previous batches of executions carried out in 2015, Indonesian authorities failed to make an official announcement about the impending date of the executions and the identity of the inmates that would face the firing squad in July 2016.18
As in 2015, serious doubts emerged over the fairness of the judicial processes that led to the conviction of several of the inmates that faced execution on 29 July 2016. At least two of them alleged that they were convicted based on confessions obtained through torture. Michael Igweh claimed that police had inflicted electric shocks to his genitals to force him to confess to possessing heroin.19
Pakistani Zulfiqar Ali, among those who obtained a reprieve, claimed that he
was tortured following a wrongful arrest and forced to confess to drug possession, a charge he later denied.20
16. AP,Indonesia executes 4 drug traffickers, 29 July 2016
17.Straits Times,Indonesia executes 4 inmates, 10 get reprieve, 30 July 2016; Antara News, Executions of 10 death row inmates postponed: Attorney general, 29 July 2016
18. Guardian,Indonesia kills four prisoners in first executions in a year, 29 July 2016
19. SMH, ‘They electrocuted me’ says Indonesia’s death-row prisoner nearing execution, 24 July 2016
20. SMH, ‘They electrocuted me’ says Indonesia’s death-row prisoner nearing execution, 24 July 2016
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
A group of Christians hold a candlelight vigil to protest the death penalty at Nusakambangan port in Cilacap, Central Java, across from Nusakambangan prison on 29 April 2015. © Romeo Gacad / AFP
Proposed and newly enacted legislation contain provisions that add the imposition of the death penalty for existing crimes. Proposed amendments to the 2003 Anti-Terrorism Law, which is under consideration by Parliament, would make certain offenses punishable by death. On 25 May 2016, President Widodo signed a decree that amended the 2002 Child Protection Law to introduce capital punishment for individuals convicted of committing sexual violence against children.21The death penalty would be imposed in cases where the victims died or suffered serious mental or physical injury.22
The decree is awaiting ratification by the House of Representatives. Indonesia prescribes capital punishment for various crimes, including: murder; terrorism-related offenses; gang-robbery; drug trafficking; drug possession; treason; and spying. In March 2013, the resumption of executions ended an unofficial moratorium that had been in place since November 2008. In 2015, Indonesia executed 14 individuals who had been convicted of drug-related offenses. Authorities are legally required to issue a 72-hour notice to inmates facing execution.
laos: No progress towards abolition
Up-to-date information on the death penalty, including statistics, is difficult to obtain in Laos. The Lao government has repeatedly announced that it was in the process of amending the Criminal Code in order to limit capital punishment to the most serious crimes, in accordance with international standards.23
However, the government has made no tangible progress on this commitment to date.
21.CNA,Indonesian president introduces death penalty for child rapists, 26 May 2016; Jakarta Post, Govt issues Perppu on sexual violence against children, 25 May 2016
22.AFP,Indonesians divided over death, castration for child abusers, 26 May 2016
23.UN Human Rights Council, 21st session,National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 – Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 5 November 2014, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/21/LAO/1,
Para 36; UN Human Rights Council, 29th session, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 23 June 2015, UN Doc. A/HRC/29/7/Add.1, Para 121.37, 121.85

On  9  October  2015,  it  was  reported  that  from  2010  to  2015,  courts  imposed  about  20  death sentences each year.24

Despite  the  fact  that  Laos  has  not  executed  anyone  since  1989,  courts  have  continued  to impose death sentences on convicted criminals, mostly for drug-related offenses. The Criminal Code  prescribes  capital  punishment  for  a  range  of  crimes,  including:  premeditated  murder; terrorism-related offenses; robbery; drug trafficking; drug possession; treason; and spying. The 2004 Law on the Development and Protection of Women also prescribes the death penalty for cases of trafficking of women and children that result in lifetime incapacity, HIV/AIDS, or the death of the victim. In 2014 and 2015, the government stated that it was necessary to retain the death penalty in Laos to deter the “most serious” crimes.25

Malaysia: Reform stalled amid ongoing executions

Over the past year, the Malaysian government indicated it was in the process of reforming the use of the death penalty. Despite several encouraging statements to that effect, no progress towards meaningful reform, or the establishment of a moratorium, has been made.

On  13  November  2015,  Attorney-General  Mohamed  Apandi  Ali  said  he  would  propose  to  the cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be abolished.26

Apandi justified his position by saying that  the  mandatory  death  penalty  “robbed  judges  of  their  discretion  to  impose  sentences  on convicted criminals.”27

On  17  November  2015,  Minister  in  the  Prime  Minister’s  Department  Nancy  Shukri  said  the government  wanted  to  abolish  mandatory  death  sentences  for  drug-related  offences.28

Nancy said  proposed  legislation  would  be  introduced  in  Parliament  in  March  2016.29

However,  the proposal never surfaced.30

According to Nancy, as of 16 May 2016, there were 1,041 death row inmates in Malaysia.31

Most of the inmates under death sentence had been convicted of drug-related offenses.32

On  29  March  2016,  Malaysia’s  National  Human  Rights  Commission  (SUHAKAM)  expressed concern over the mandatory imposition of capital punishment for certain crimes and called for the establishment of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

24 Vientiane Times, EU campaigns to end capital punishment , 9 October 2015
25 UN Human Rights Council, 21st session, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 – Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 5 November 2014, UN Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/21/LAO/1, Para 36; UN Human Rights Council, 29th session, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 23 June 2015, UN Doc. A/HRC/29/7/Add.1, Para 121.37, 121.85
26 Malaysian  Insider, A-G seeking to abolish mandatory death penalty, 13 November 2015; Star, Government wants mandatory death penalty abolished, 17 November 2015
27 Malaysian Insider,A-G seeking to abolish mandatory death penalty, 13 November 2015
28 New Straits Times,Govt plans to scrap mandatory death penalty: Nancy, 17 November 2015
29 New Straits Times,Govt plans to scrap mandatory death penalty: Nancy, 17 November 2015
30 Guardian, Malaysia hangs three men for murder in ‘secretive’ execution, 25 March 2016
31 Malaysiakini,Nancy explains delay in amending death penalty law, 10 July 201AFP,
32 Amnesty denounces ‘shocking’ Malaysian executions, 25 March 2016
33. SUHAKAM,The Death Penalty Violates the Right to Life and is the Ultimate Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishment, 29 March 2016

fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia

Obtaining information about upcoming executions and the status of death row inmates continues to be a challenge. Authorities do not disclose any information to the public before, and sometimes even after, executions are carried out. Malaysian media reported on four executions from October 2015 to September 2016.

On 25 March 2016, three convicted murderers, Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu, 35, Ramesh Jayakumar, 34, and his brother Sasivarnam Jayakumar, 37, were executed by hanging.34

In August 2011, the Alor Setar High Court had found them guilty of murdering a 25-year-old man in 2005.35

Authorities notified the families of the men two days before the execution, while the three were told of their execution one day before they were hanged.36

On 23 September 2016, a 40-year-old man, Ahmad Najib Aris, was executed by hanging in Kajang prison, Selangor State.37

On 23 February 2005, the Shah Alam High Court sentenced Ahmad Najib to death after finding him guilty of the murder of a 29-year-old woman in June 2003.38

Malaysia allows the imposition of the death penalty for numerous crimes, including: murder; rape or attempted rape resulting in the victim’s death; terrorism-related offenses; robbery; burglary; kidnapping; drug trafficking; trafficking in firearms; and treason. The death penalty is mandatory for various crimes, including: murder; terrorism-related offenses; drug trafficking; robbery;  burglary;  and  kidnapping.  According  to  official  statistics,  between  2010  and  22 February 2016, Malaysian courts sentenced 829 prisoners to death.

Philippines:   New   President   proposes   reintroduction   of  capital punishment

The Philippines risks having the death penalty reinstated as part of its ‘war on drugs’ under President Rodrigo Duterte, who was elected on 9 May 2016.

On 16 May 2016, during his first press conference after being elected, President Duterte vowed to reinstate the death penalty for a wide range of crimes, with a particular focus on crimes involving drugs.39

Other  crimes  for  which  President  Duterte  said  the  death  penalty  would  be  reinstated include rape, robbery, and kidnapping that result in the victim’s death.40

From  30  June  to  6 September 2016, members of the Congress introduced 16 bills to either repeal existing legislation prohibiting  the  death  penalty  or  make  a  number  of  crimes  punishable  by  death.  Enacting legislation to reinstate the death penalty would be inconsistent with the Philippines’ obligations under international law, namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

  1. Guardian,Malaysia hangs three men for murder in ‘secretive’ execution, 25 March 2016
  1. Bernama,Three get the gallows for murder, 28 August 2011
  1. Guardian,Malaysia hangs three men for murder in ‘secretive’ execution, 25 March 2016
  1. Star,Canny Ong’s murderer hanged, 23 September 2016
  1. Star,Canny Ong’s murderer hanged, 23 September 2016
  1. Al Jazeera,Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte recommends death penalty, 16 May 2016
  1. CNN,Duterte wants to restore death penalty by hanging, 18 May 2016

 

fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia

fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
11
and the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
41
In addition, the spate of summary killings of drug peddlers in the Philippines since the election
of President Duterte is cause for concern. According to police figures, 39 suspected drug dealers
were killed from the start of the year until the 9 May 2016 presidential election.
42
Since 1 July
2016, police officers and vigilantes have been responsible for 3,671 reported cases of extrajudicial
killings of suspected criminals in relation to President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs.’
43
The recent
dramatic increase in the number of extrajudicial killings appears to be a direct consequence of
statements made by President Duterte, including encouraging the use of vigilante justice and
pledging to kill up to 100,000 criminals during his first six months in office in order to eradicate
crime and corruption.
44
In this picture taken on 8 July 2016, police officers examine the dead body of an alleged drug dealer, his face covered with packing tape and
a placard reading “I’m a pusher,” on a street in Manila. © Noel Celis / AFP
In an act that underscored his support for capital punishment, President Duterte has done little
to seek clemency in the case of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, who was sentenced to death by an
Indonesian court in October 2010 for smuggling heroin. On 9 September 2016, during a visit to
Indonesia, President Duterte told Indonesian President Joko Widodo to “follow [Indonesia’s] laws,”
and that he would not interfere in the country’s judicial process.
45
41.
The ICCPR restricts the imposition of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes.” Article 6(2) states that “
[i]n
countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes
[…]
.” The Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR prevents state parties to the convention from carrying out executions.
Article 1(1) states that “
[n]o one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed.
42.
GMA News,
PNP: Number of suspected drug dealers killed up by 200%
, 17 June 2016
43.
Rappler,
IN NUMBERS: The Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’
statistics-philippines-war-drugs, accessed on 4 October 2016
44.
AFP,
Kill the criminals! Duterte’s vote-winning vow
, 16 March 2016; CNN,
Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte: Public ‘can kill’
criminals
, 6 June 2016
45.
Guardian,
Indonesia says Duterte has given it permission to execute Mary Jane Veloso
, 12 September 2016
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
12
Activists hold a banner during a protest in front of the Indonesian embassy in Manila on 27 April 2015, as they ask Indonesia to spare
Filipina Mary Jane Veloso from execution. © Ted Aljibe / AFP
The Philippines abolished the death penalty under the 1987 constitution, but reinstated it in
1993 under Republic Act No. 7659 (Death Penalty Law), and later with the amendment of
Republic Act No. 8353 (Anti-Rape Law of 1997) and Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). The last execution carried out in the Philippines was in January
2000. In March 2000, then-President Joseph Estrada announced a moratorium on executions
until the end of that year to mark the Christian Jubilee year.
46
In June 2006, the Philippines
adopted Republic Act No. 9346, a law that prohibited the imposition of the death penalty. The
Philippines has ratified both the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition
of the death penalty, and the Convention against Torture (CAT).
Singapore: Government defends capital punishment,
executions continue
Several important aspects related to the death penalty in Singapore remain shrouded in secrecy.
While the government publishes annual statistics on the total number of executions, it consistently
fails to make public announcements concerning upcoming hangings and to reveal the number
of prisoners on death row. According to the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC),
as of May 2016, there were at least 25 inmates on death row, 23 of whom had been convicted
of drug-related offenses. During the reporting period, Singapore executed at least one individual,
Malaysian national Kho Jabing.
Kho Jabing, 31, was sentenced to death in July 2010 for the murder of a Chinese citizen in
February 2008. He was executed by hanging on 20 May 2016 following a judicial odyssey that
saw his death sentence set aside in favor of life imprisonment with caning and then reinstated.
47
46. BBC,
Philippines suspends death sentence
, 24 March 2000
47.
Straits Times,
Convicted murderer Jabing Kho hanged after latest bid to escape gallows fails
, 20 May 2016
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
13
On 5 November 2015, less than 24 hours before Kho Jabing was to be hanged, his lawyer obtained
a temporary stay of execution after petitioning the Court of Appeal to reconsider its earlier
decision.
48
On 5 April 2016, the Court of Appeal unanimously rejected Kho Jabing’s motion.
49
The Singaporean government continues to staunchly defend the imposition of the death penalty
in international fora. During its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), held on 27 January
2016, the government did not accept any of the 20 recommendations on the abolition of capital
punishment, including six that called for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the
death penalty, and nine that called for the re-establishment of a moratorium on executions.
50
The government defended capital punishment as a “legitimate” exercise of state power to
deter the most serious crimes, including drug trafficking.
51
This explanation runs counter to UN
jurisprudence, which has repeatedly stated that drug-related offenses do not meet the threshold
of the “most serious crimes.”
52
Singapore allows the imposition of the death penalty for numerous crimes, including: murder;
terrorism-related offenses; kidnapping; drug trafficking; arms trafficking; gang-robbery resulting
in murder; and treason. Following a reform of the mandatory death penalty regime that came into
effect in January 2013, judges were given discretion to sentence defendants to life imprisonment
with caning for certain categories of murder and for drug trafficking under certain circumstances.
According to official figures, from 2007 to 2015, Singapore executed 24 inmates, 14 of whom
had been convicted of drug-related offenses. In July 2014, authorities lifted a moratorium on
executions that had been established in July 2011.
Thailand: Dragging its feet on abolition
On the legislative front, Thailand has not made any attempt to decrease the number of crimes
punishable by death. Drug-related offenses continue to represent a disproportionate share of
the crimes for which a death sentence has been imposed. As of August 2016, 380 men and 64
women were on death row; 156 of the men (41%) and 52 of the women (81%) on death row had
been found guilty of drug-related offenses.
53
48.
CNA,
Court of Appeal extends stay of execution for Kho Jabing
, 23 November 2015
49.
CNA,
Malaysian Kho Jabing to hang for murder after appeal dismissed
, 5 April 2016
50.
UN Human Rights Council, 32nd session,
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Singapore –
Addendum
, 13 June 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/32/17/Add.1, Para 41
51.
UN Human Rights Council, 32nd session,
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Singapore
, 15
April 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/32/17, Para 61; UN Webcast,
Singapore Review – 24th Session of Universal Periodic Review
,
27 January 2016,
review/4725866340001
52.
UN Human Rights Committee,
Concluding observations on the initial report of Indonesia
, 21 August 2013, UN Doc.
CCPR/C/IDN/CO/1, Para 10
53.
Department of Corrections,
Statistics of prisoners under death sentence, August 2016
, 5 September 2016,
correct.go.th/stathomepage/CCF14092559_0001.pdf
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
14
Myanmar nationals Zaw Lin (L) and Win Zaw Tun (R) leave the Koh Samui Provincial Court on 24 December 2015 after the court sentenced
them to death for the murder of two British tourists on the nearby island of Koh Tao in 2014. © Nicolas Asfouri / AFP
The head of the ruling military junta, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has expressed contradictory
views on the imposition of the death penalty. On 6 June 2016, General Prayuth called on the
judiciary to ensure the death penalty for convicted rapists.
54
However, following the public uproar
over the attempted rape and murder of a woman in Saraburi Province in July 2016, General
Prayuth disagreed with calls for capital punishment and said that severe penalties would not
prevent rape.
55
In September 2016, the government released its full response to Thailand’s second Universal
Periodic Review (UPR), which was held on 11 May 2016. With regard to the death penalty,
Thailand pledged to commute death sentences and review the imposition of the death penalty
for drug-related offenses.
56
Despite this pledge, the government did not accept 12 of the 17
recommendations that either called for the abolition of capital punishment or encompassed
measures aimed at making progress towards that goal. The recommendations not accepted
included: the establishment of a moratorium on all executions; the ratification of the Second
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at
the abolition of the death penalty; and the removal of economic crimes from the list of offenses
punishable by death. The government said it would consider these recommendations “in
subsequent UPR cycles.”
57
Thailand stated that it was taking a step-by-step approach towards
the abolition of the death penalty, as there were “different public sentiments.”
58
54.
Nation,
PM calls for death penalty for rapists, stepped up fight against trafficking
, 6 June 2016
55. Bangkok Post,
General Prayut against death penalty for fatal rapes
, 5 July 2016
56.
UN Human Rights Council, 33rd session,
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Thailand
, 15 July
2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/33/16, Para 158.72; UN Human Rights Council, 33rd session,
Report of the Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review – Thailand
, 7 September 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/33/16/Add.1, Para 159.30
57.
UN Human Rights Council, 33rd session,
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Thailand
, 7
September 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/33/16/Add.1, Para 12, 18, 20
58.
UN Human Rights Council, 33rd session,
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Thailand
, 7
September 2016, UN Doc. A/HRC/33/16/Add.1, Para 20
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
15
Thailand has not executed anyone since August 2009. However, courts continue to impose
death sentences, mainly for drug-related offenses. The Criminal Code prescribes the death
penalty for various crimes, including: premeditated murder; rape resulting in death; kidnapping;
terrorism; spying; treason; economic crimes; and drug-related offenses. Other laws that
contain provisions for the death penalty include: the 1947 Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives,
Fireworks, and the Equivalent of Firearms Act; the 1979 Narcotics Act; the 1999 Anti-Corruption
Law; the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; and the 2015 Act Regarding Offenses Relating
to Air Travel.
Vietnam: Capital punishment still on the books despite law
amendments
Vietnam continues to classify statistics on the death penalty as ‘state secrets.’ During the
reporting period, English-language national media and international news outlets reported on 47
court cases in which the death sentence was imposed, most of them for drug-related offenses.
However, it is believed that the actual number of death sentences imposed by courts was much
higher. It is estimated that more than 500 inmates are currently on death row.
59
There were no reports of executions in English-language national and international media and it
is unknown whether any executions were carried out during the reporting period. On 25 October
2015, authorities granted a stay of execution to Le Van Manh, a 32-year-old man convicted in
November 2008 of the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl in Thanh Hoa Province five years
earlier.
60
Le Van Manh claimed his conviction was based on a confession that police extracted
through torture.
61
On 27 November 2015, the National Assembly approved amendments to the Criminal Code that
reduced the number of crimes punishable by death from 22 to 18.
62
The amendments abolished
capital punishment for several crimes including: robbery; destruction of projects of importance
to national security; disobeying orders; and surrendering to the enemy.
63
The amendments
also replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment as punishment for those charged with
embezzlement or corruption, provided they pay back 75% of their ill-gotten gains.
64
In addition,
capital punishment would no longer be imposed on persons more than 75 years old who are
convicted of committing a capital crime.
65
However, the amendments failed to remove capital punishment for drug-related offenses, which
were reworded and renumbered in the amended Criminal Code.
66
The amendments also added
one new criminal offense, ‘terrorist activities aimed at opposing the people’s administration’
59. DPA,
Eight sentenced to death in Vietnam for drug smuggling
, 20 January 2015
60.
RFA,
Vietnam Postpones Execution of Man Who Says He Was Tortured Into Confession
, 26 October 2015; Tuoi Tre News,
Vietnam court delays execution of man following family appeal
, 26 October 2015
61.
RFA,
Vietnam Postpones Execution of Man Who Says He Was Tortured Into Confession
, 26 October 2015
62. VCHR,
The Death Penalty in Vietnam
, June 2016
63.
VNA,
National Assembly adopts draft revised Penal Code
, 27 November 2015; Xinhua,
Vietnam passes amended Penal
Code, removing death penalty for 7 crimes
, 27 November 2015
64.
AFP,
Vietnam lawmakers ease death penalty on corruption
, 28 November 2015
65.
Xinhua,
Vietnam passes amended Penal Code, removing death penalty for 7 crimes
, 27 November 2015
66.
VCHR,
The Death Penalty in Vietnam
, June 2016
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
16
(Article 113), which is punishable by death.
67
On 29 June 2016, the National Assembly decided to
postpone the amended Criminal Code’s coming into force indefinitely after almost 90 unspecified
“errors” were found in the text.
68
Vietnam allows the imposition of the death penalty for a wide range of crimes, including:
murder; drug-related offenses; rape of minors; manufacturing fake medicine; receiving bribes;
and embezzling property. In the amended Criminal Code, six political offences perceived as
‘threats against national security’ are punishable by death. They are: high treason (Article
108); carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration (Article 109);
spying (Article 110); rebellion (Article 112); terrorist activities aimed at opposing the people’s
administration (Article 113); and sabotaging the material-technical foundations of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam (Article 114).
69
67. VCHR,
The Death Penalty in Vietnam
, June 2016
68. Xinhua,
Vietnam postpones implementation of new Penal Code
, 29 June 2016
69. Numbering used here refers to articles of the amended Criminal Code.
The death penalty in Southeast Asia: Key facts & figures
Brunei
Darussalam
Burma
Indonesia
Laos
Malaysia
Singapore
Thailand
Vietnam
Status
De facto
abolitionist
De facto
abolitionist
Retentionist
De facto
abolitionist
Retentionist
Retentionist
Retentionist
Retentionist
Last
execution
1957
1988
2016
1989
2016
2016
2009
Not
available
Method of
execution
Hanging Hanging Firing squad
Firing squad
Hanging Hanging Lethal
injection
Lethal
injection
Number of
death row
inmates
~5
Not
available
179
200+
1,041
25
444
500+
Executions
over the past
12 months
0
0
4
0
4
1+
0
Not
available
Death
penalty for
terrorism
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Mandatory
death
penalty
Yes
Yes
No
Not
available
Yes
Yes
No
No
Moratorium
on
executions
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
ICCPR
ratification
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
ICCPR
-­‐OP2
ratification
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
CAT
ratification
No (Signed)
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
17
Recommendations to countries in Southeast Asia
1.
Abolish the death penalty for all crimes.
2.
For countries that have abolished the death penalty, ensure that the death penalty is not
reinstated.
3.
Establish an official moratorium on all executions and death sentences.
4.
Repeal the imposition of mandatory death sentences.
5.
Commute all death sentences to prison terms.
6.
Significantly reduce the number of criminal offenses that can be punished by death by
ensuring the death penalty is allowed only for the most serious crimes, in accordance with
international standards.
7.
Respect international human rights standards related to the right to a fair trial and due
process, including the right to appeal to a higher court.
8.
Maintain and make publicly available up-to-date information and statistics (disaggregated
by nationality; sex; age; racial or ethnic origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; and other
status, including disability) on: the number of persons sentenced to death; the number of
executions carried out; the number of persons under sentence of death; the number of
death sentences reversed or commuted on appeal; and the number of instances in which
clemency has been granted.
9.
Extend invitations for official visits to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary
or arbitrary executions and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment.
10.
Sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the
Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
11.
Vote in favor of the next UN General Assembly resolution (due to be voted on in December
2016) that calls for a moratorium on executions.
fIDH – GOING BACKWARDS – The death penalty in Southeast Asia
18
THIS RePORT WAS PRODuCeD IN COll
ABORATION WITH THe fOll
OWING
ORGANIz
ATIONS:
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture
(MADPET)
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma
(ALTSEAN-Burma)
Commission for the Disappeared and Victims
of Violence (KontraS)
Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG)
Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)
Philippine Alliance of Human
Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
We Believe in Second Chances

Thailand – Committed to not create a new death penalty offence – rape?

Thai  government stays cool and firm in the face of calls for the death penalty for rapists…

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also heads the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), was cool on the emotional response to the crime, noting that there was a global trend for capital punishment to be scrapped. “Let’s look at the world around us. Many countries have already abolished the death penalty,” he said, in response to the call.

Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary Tawatchai Thaikyo expressed similar sentiments via Facebook, cautioning against any move to push for the death penalty for all rapists.

“We have to think as to whether the push will encourage rapists to kill all victims,” he said.

Of relevance also, is ADPAN’s statement concerning  sex offence and death penalty in Indonesia

ADPAN believes that punishment need to be meted out to the guilty, but definitely not the death penalty.

Several studies have also warned against focusing solely on punitive action as the solution to sex offences, rather proposing parent-focused child sex abuse prevention (Mendelson & Letourneau. 2015), involving men and boys as allies against sexual violence (Walsh. 2015), mechanisms to identify persons who are attracted to pre-pubescent girls (Beier et al. 2016) and introducing school-based sexuality education at an early age, containing modules addressing inappropriate touching and rape culture. (Coleman et al. 2015) The death penalty will not prevent rapes.

If deterrence is Indonesia’s objective for the introduction of the death penalty, it must be pointed out that there is no credible evidence to suggest that the death penalty is a deterrent. The Death Penalty Information Center points to higher murder rates in states that have the death penalty as proof the sentencing threat does not deter crime.

There is also concern that when death penalty is imposed for crimes that do not usually result in death of victims, as would apply to sex offences, there is a real risk that the death penalty would encourage the offender to murder the victim to destroy the evidence against him/her.

Therefore, ADPAN urges Indonesia to reconsider and abolish the death penalty for sex offenders. – ADPAN urges Indonesia to Abolish Death Penalty and Castration for Sex Offenders, 16/6/2016

Calls for death for rapists after brutal Saraburi murder

PUBLIC CALLS for the death penalty against rapists are growing in the wake of the shocking murder of a young female teacher, who died at the hands of a former convict.

Chatri Ruamsoongnern, a 27-year-old cement factory worker, has confessed to slitting the throat of a 26-year-old teacher to steal her valuables in Saraburi province. He has denied attempting to rape her but evidence at the scene reportedly suggested otherwise.

Tests are ongoing to determine whether the teacher was sexually violated.

Chatri emerged as the prime suspect from the beginning of police inquiries because he and the victim were neighbours, and he had previously been convicted of raping the wife of a friend. He completed a jail term of one year and seven months last August.

“We are waiting for the results from forensic tests to get solid evidence related to this case,” Provincial Police Region 1 commissioner Pol Lt-General Chaiwat Getvorachai said yesterday.

At present, Chatri is charged only with premeditated murder.

The teacher had rented a room inside a fenced estate where 10 rooms are available and many tenants are colleagues teaching at the same school. Chatri moved in about six months ago as the live-in boyfriend of a transgender woman.

The grieving family of the victim yesterday demanded that harshest penalty be meted out against the culprit. “Don’t give him any chance to harm others again. Please enforce the laws harshly,” the mother said.

Her husband also felt the same way. “I don’t intend to see laws kill a person. But if we let such a bad guy go free, he will kill again,” the victim’s father said.

Many social-media users joined their call, saying all rapists should be punished with death.

The sentiment echoed opinions expressed by many two years ago when a State Rail worker admitted to raping and killing a 13-year-old girl during an overnight ride with her family.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also heads the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), was cool on the emotional response to the crime, noting that there was a global trend for capital punishment to be scrapped. “Let’s look at the world around us. Many countries have already abolished the death penalty,” he said, in response to the call.

Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary Tawatchai Thaikyo expressed similar sentiments via Facebook, cautioning against any move to push for the death penalty for all rapists.

“We have to think as to whether the push will encourage rapists to kill all victims,” he said.

He also said some parents lodged complaints against boys who had been in love and had sex with their underage daughters. “Would it be better if we require all convicted rapists to undergo a rehabilitation programme and give them support to prevent them from committing such crimes again?” he said.

Kobkiat Kasivivat, another deputy permanent secretary for the Justice Ministry, said separately that due to a shortage of psychologists and social workers, such rehabilitation programmes are now only available in Bangkok. He said if Chatri is convicted of any criminal offence he will not be eligible for a royal pardon because he committed the crime within five years of his previous jail sentence.

At present, 3,406 men and 985 women are serving jail terms under final court rulings for sex offences.

Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection’s head Wisit Wisitsora-at said facilities under his agency had individual counsellors in place. “Only 2 per cent of the high-risk group have become repeated offenders,” he said.-http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Calls-for-death-for-rapists-after-brutal-Saraburi–30289810.html

 

 

rape punish

Online push for death for rapists

SEVERAL online campaigns have been launched to press for rapists to get the death penalty.

Under Thai law, people convicted of rape can only be punished with a jail term, but often these offenders commit the crime again after serving their term.

Chatri Ruamsoongnern, the prime suspect in the recent brutal murder of a 26-year-old teacher in Saraburi, had previously been convicted of raping the wife of a friend a few years ago. He has allegedly confessed to killing the teacher – but claimed he did not try to rape her – after she fought him off last week.

“We believe rapists should be sentenced to death because even if their victims survive, they become the living dead,” the founder of a Facebook page pushing for death for rapists in Thailand said.

It was difficult for rape victims to return to a normal life emotionally, he said, no matter what counselling they have undergone. He also cited the fact that Chatri had walked out of jail just 10 months ago and had just confessed to killing the young teacher.

“Why should we let such convicts repeat their crimes? How many more victims will have to suffer such a fate?” he asked.

Thailand has not executed convicts for about seven years. The last executions were carried out in 2009 against convicted drug traffickers.

The country will be seen as having scrapped capital punishment in practice if it does not execute any convict for a decade.

At present, the great bulk of countries – about 140 – no longer implement the death penalty, either by law or in practice. Just 22 nations continue to end the lives of serious criminal offenders.

But by population size, more than 60 per cent of people in the world live in the countries where capital punishment is still carried out. Countries with large populations such as China, India, the United States and Indonesia, all endorse the death penalty.

Supporters of the capital punishment believe the death penalty is a deterrent and a sure way to prevent criminals from committing crimes again.

Opponents, however, argue that capital punishment is not a deterrent and express concern about the risk of innocent people being executed before vital details can emerge to clear people who face incriminating evidence.

On Monday night, police escorted Chatri to the teacher’s rented flat in Kaeng Khoi district in Saraburi to re-enact the crime after being forced to cancel a session earlier in the day due to the presence of angry people.

Chatri is currently under court-approved detention.

Meanwhile, police in Bang Na in Bangkok yesterday applied for an arrest warrant for Ekapon saw Teaw, 31, for allegedly raping a student in a public toilet late last month.

Records show that Ekapon already faces legal action for alleged possession of drugs and in 2013 he was accused of peeping at a woman on a toilet at a petrol station in Samut Prakan province. –Nation, 6/7/2016

ADPAN Welcomes Thailand’s Commitment To The Abolition Of The Death Penalty At The UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand in Geneva on 11/5/2016

Media Statement – 20/5/2016

 

ADPAN Welcomes Thailand’s Commitment To The Abolition Of The Death Penalty At The UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand in Geneva on 11/5/2016

 

ADPAN (Anti-Death Penalty Asian Network) welcomes Thailand’s commitment to abolish the death penalty. At the 2nd cycle of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand in Geneva on 11/5/2016, the Thailand delegation led by the Minister of Justice renewed its commitment to the abolition of the death penalty in Thailand.

In the final remarks on 11/5/2015, the Thai delegation orally mentioned that eventhough some 80% of Thais are against the abolition of the death penalty, the government is committed to work towards abolition. They reported that Thailand had been undertaking studies with a view towards abolition for the past 5 years.

The delegation said that Thailand’s plan towards abolition will be carried out in 3 stages. In the first stage, there will be a return of discretion in sentencing to judges for offences that carry the death penalty. In the second stage, there will the abolition of death penalty for certain offences. And lastly, the death penalty will be abolished.

Whilst Thailand outlined the steps towards total abolition, ADPAN notes that no specific time frame was stipulated, and urge Thailand to immediately commit to a moratorium on all executions, and specify in greater detail their plan towards abolition, in particular the time frames.

The last known executions took place In Thailand was in August 2009, when two men were executed in Thailand for drug-trafficking offenses. The previous executions took place in 2003, and it was allegedly to also to test the new method of execution by lethal injection.

Of late, the penalty offences have increased. In March 2015, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008 was amended to make human trafficking a capital offense if it causes a trafficking victim’s death. In July 2015, an amendment to the Anti-Corruption Act expanded the death penalty to also foreign officials and staff of international organizations who demand or accept a bribe.

ADPAN notes that sadly that on Friday (13/5/2016), Thailand only supported limited recommendations of member states with regard the death penalty, being to:-

  • Take measures to abolish the death penalty (Madagascar); Take measures aimed at abolishing the death penalty (Togo); Take concrete steps towards abolishing the death penalty (Brazil); Take steps towards abolishing the death penalty (Georgia); and

 

  • Reconsider the abolition of the death penalty as a sentence for various crimes (Ecuador); Review the imposition of death penalty for offences related to drug trafficking (Slovenia);

With regard to the other recommendations, including the establishing of a moratorium on executions, the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the commutation of death sentence and the abolition of the death penalty, Thailand stated that they will only provide responses in due time, but no later than the thirty-third session of the Human Rights Council in September 2016.

ADPAN urges Thailand to immediately now establish a moratorium on executions pending the consideration of these remaining recommendations, and thereafter by September 2016, to extend this moratorium pending abolition of the death penalty.

ADPAN  also urges Thailand to adhere to the 5 United Nations General Assembly Resolutions, the first being in 2007 and the fifth being on 2014, whereby the global trend is towards abolition, calling for the abolition of the death penalty, and for a moratorium pending abolition.

 

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of

ADPAN(Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network)

 

** ADPAN is a network of groups and persons from about 22 Asia-Pacific countries

 

Notes:-

 

Below are the extracts  of Draft report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Thailand, in particular the recommendations from member nations concerning the death penalty, which Thailand already supports, and those recommendations which Thailand are still considering and will revert with a response by September 2016.

 

5.            The recommendations formulated during the interactive dialogue/listed below have been examined by Thailand and enjoy the support of Thailand:

 

5.72.       Review the imposition of death penalty for offences related to drug trafficking (Slovenia);

 

5.73.       Reconsider the abolition of the death penalty as a sentence for various crimes (Ecuador);

 

5.74.       Take steps towards abolishing the death penalty (Georgia);

 

5.75.       Take measures to abolish the death penalty (Madagascar); Take measures aimed at abolishing the death penalty (Togo); Take concrete steps towards abolishing the death penalty (Brazil);

 

 

 

6.            The following recommendations will be examined by Thailand which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the thirty-third session of the Human Rights Council in September 2016:

 

6.1.         Consider ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (OP2-ICCPR) with a view to abolish the death penalty (Namibia);

 

6.2.         Ratify the OP2-ICCPR (Austria; Montenegro; Panama; Poland; Portugal; Slovenia; Spain); Accede to the OP2-ICCPR (Turkey);

 

6.16.       Carry out the necessary legal reforms to fully abolish the death penalty and accede to the OP2-ICCPR (Mexico);

 

6.22.       Establish a formal moratorium on the death penalty with a view to ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (Australia); Establish an official moratorium on executions, and sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and aim to abolish the death penalty (Germany);

 

6.23.       Immediately establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty (Iceland); Establish a moratorium on the death penalty as in interim measure towards the abolition of the capital punishment (Portugal); Establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty (Bolivia (Plurinational State of));

 

6.24.       Abolish the death penalty by law (Denmark); Abolish the death penalty (Honduras); Abolish immediately the death penalty (Slovakia); Implement the full abolition of the death penalty (Paraguay);

 

6.25.       Repeal the application of the death penalty in all areas (Chile);

 

6.26.       Eliminate the death penalty for crimes that cannot be considered as most serious crimes such as the economic ones (Spain);

 

6.27.       Consider eliminating the clause that expands the use of the death penalty for economic crimes (Timor-Leste);

 

6.28.       Eliminate the death penalty in the new anti-corruption law, repeal the provision that extended the use of the death penalty to economic crimes, and ratify the OP2-ICCPR (Uruguay);

 

6.29.       Repeal the clause expanding the use of the death penalty for economic crimes (Albania);

 

6.30.       Commute the death sentences with a view to abolishing the death penalty (France);

 

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