Thailand – Death penalty proposed for corrupt public officials

Monday, 9 January 2017

Death penalty proposed for corrupt public officials

BANGKOK: A proposal to impose the death penalty on any convicted corrupt public official who incurs more than 1bil baht (RM125mil) in damage to the state has been tabled for the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) meeting.

The proposal was made by its political reform steering committee, chaired by Seree Suwanpanont, as part of their report on regulation and scrutiny of the exercise of government power.

The NRSA will also consider a proposal for adjustment in the recruitment of independent agency commissioners.

Besides tougher examination of politicians, the committee proposed that state officials be scrutinised equally in corruption cases.

The reform drivers proposed five years imprisonment for convicted corrupt officials who incur no more than 1mil baht (RM125,188) losses to the state.

Under the proposals, those incurring from 1mil to 10mil baht (RM1.25mil) and 10mil to 100mil baht (RM12.5mil) should face 10 and 20 years jail respectively, while those inflicting losses between 100mil and 1bil baht (RM125mil) should receive a life term.

The committee also proposed that once the NRSA passed the report, it should be submitted to the Cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the Constitution Drafting Commission for further deliberation.

The report centres on reforming the mechanisms for scrutiny of the executive branch. Among them is reform of the independent agencies, including the Constitutional Court.

It was proposed that the process for recruiting commissioners and judges as stipulated in the charter that passed last August’s referendum should be adjusted.

Previously, it was set out that representatives from related independent agencies should play a part in the recruitment. However, the NRSA political reform steering committee suggested that details of such representatives should be spelled out clearly – whether to use the current commissioners and personnel or others. It said this was to prevent any lack of transparency.

In addition, as the new charter has laid out very high qualifications for commissioners, the committee urged clear definition and scope of those qualifications so that the recruitment could be of the same standard.

The opportunity to join the independent agencies’ commission should be opened up to practitioners of all careers, the committee proposed. — The Nation / Asia News Network – Star, 9/1/2017

UNGA 2016 Resolution – How Countries Voted



[117 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of the proposal. Only 40 states voted against it and 31 abstained at the vote]

Below the Draft Test of the Resolution(for the final text, visit UN Website)

The General Assembly,


Guided by the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations,


Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,


Recalling the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and in this regard welcoming the increasing number of accessions to and ratifications of the Second Optional Protocol,


Reaffirming its resolutions 62/149 of 18 December 2007, 63/168 of 18 December 2008, 65/206 of 21 December 2010, 67/176 of 20 December 2012 and 69/186 of 18 December 2014 on the question of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, in which the General Assembly called upon States that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing it,


Welcoming all relevant decisions and resolutions of the Human Rights Council,


Mindful that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable,


Convinced that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty contributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights, and considering that there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty,


Noting ongoing local and national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty, as well as the readiness of an increasing number of Member States to make available to the public information on the use of the death penalty, and also, in this regard, the decision by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 26/2 of 26 June 20145 to convene biennial high-level panel discussions in order to further exchange views on the question of the death penalty,


Recognizing the role of national human rights institutions in contributing to ongoing local and national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty,


Welcoming the considerable movement towards the abolition of the death penalty globally and the fact that many States are applying a moratorium, including long-standing moratoriums, either in law or in practice, on the use of the death penalty,


Emphasizing the need to ensure that persons facing the death penalty are treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity and in compliance with their rights under international human rights law,

Noting the technical cooperation among Member States, as well as the role of relevant United Nations entities and human rights mechanisms, in supporting State efforts to establish moratoriums on the death



Bearing in mind the work of special procedures mandate holders who have addressed human rights issues related to the death penalty within the framework of their respective mandates,


  1. Reaffirms the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems, including determining appropriate legal penalties, in accordance with their international law obligations;


  1. Expresses its deep concern about the continued application of the death penalty;


  1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 69/186 and the recommendations contained therein;


  1. Also welcomes the steps taken by some States to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed, as well as steps taken to limit its application;


  1. Further welcomes initiatives and political leadership encouraging national discussions and debates on the possibility of moving away from capital punishment through domestic decision-making;


  1. Welcomes the decisions made by an increasing number of States from all regions, at all levels of government, to apply a moratorium on executions, followed in many cases by the abolition of the death penalty;


  1. Calls upon all States:


(a) To respect international standards that provide safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, in particular the minimum standards, as set out in the annex to Economic and Social Council resolution 1984/50 of 25 May 1984, as well as to provide the Secretary-General with information in this regard;


(b) To comply with their obligations under article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, particularly the right to receive information on consular assistance;


(c) To make available relevant information, disaggregated by sex, age, and race, as applicable, and other applicable criteria, with regard to their use of the death penalty, inter alia, the number of persons sentenced to death, the number of persons on death row and the number of executions carried out, the number of death sentences reversed or commuted on appeal and information on any scheduled execution, which can contribute to possible informed and transparent national and international debates, including on the obligations of States pertaining to the use of the death penalty;


(d) To progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and not to impose capital punishment for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age, on pregnant women or on persons with mental or intellectual disabilities;


(e) To reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed;


(f) To ensure that those facing the death penalty can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation of their death sentence by ensuring that clemency procedures are fair and transparent and that prompt information is provided at all stages of the process;


(g) To establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;


  1. Calls upon States which have abolished the death penalty not to reintroduce it, and encourages them to share their experience in this regard;


  1. Encourages States which have a moratorium to maintain it and to share their experience in this regard;


  1. Calls upon States that have not yet done so to consider acceding to or ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;


  1. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session on the implementation of the present resolution;


  1. Decides to continue consideration of the matter at its seventy-third session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.


Some observations of a friend as follows:-

The plenary session of the UN General Assembly adopted yesterday its sixth resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with 117 votes in favour, 40 against and 31 abstentions.

The text of the resolution includes some positive new additions compared to 2014, including:

-a reference to the role of national human rights institutions in contributing to ongoing local and national debates and regional initiatives on the death penalty;

-a request to make available relevant information on any scheduled execution, in addition to other information already listed in previous resolutions;

-a call on states that still retain the death penalty “To ensure that those facing the death penalty can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation of their death sentence by ensuring that clemency procedures are fair and transparent and that prompt information is provided at all stages of the process;”

Unfortunately the opponents of the resolution managed this year to include in the resolution a new paragraph that recalls their sovereign right to determine their legal systems, as follows:

“1. Reaffirms the sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems, including determining appropriate legal penalties, in accordance with their international law obligations;”

While the number of the votes in favour remained the same as in 2014, there have been some interesting changes in the voting, both positively and negatively:

Positive changes:

-Guinea, Malawi, Namibia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka moved from abstention to vote in favour;

-Zimbabwe moved from vote against to abstention;

Swaziland also moved from not present to vote in favour (but voted against the resolution in previous years).

-Lesotho moved from not present to abstention (but abstained in previous resolutions, so did not mention this in our AI statement); Nauru moved from not present to vote in favour (but supported the resolutions in previous years, so we did not mention this in our statement).

Negative changes:

-Equatorial Guinea, Niger, Philippines, Seychelles moved from vote in favour to abstention;

-Maldives moved from abstention to vote against;

-Burundi and South Sudan moved from vote in favour to vote against.

Several states also did not vote yesterday, for whatever reason, contributing to the final results:

-DRC, Gambia, Senegal went from abstention to not present;

-Rwanda  went from vote in favour to not present.

This leaves us with a somewhat bittersweet result: on one hand, the number of votes in favour has not become higher compared to 2014; on the other hand, some of the positive changes might signal the beginning of new journeys towards abolition.

2016 has been a very challenging year all around, including for the death penalty-some of the negative vote changes were somewhat expected, some perhaps speak to greater human rights challenges.

Thank you nonetheless for your continued work to get us all here-look forward to more work together in the new year.

Amnesty International’s public statement on yesterday’s vote can be found below and at this link:



Philippines: Congress should block effort to reintroduce death penalty

5 December 2016


Philippines: Congress should block effort to reintroduce death penalty


We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, express serious concern over the rapid efforts by members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines to adopt a bill restoring the death penalty in the country.


On 29 November 2016, the Sub-Committee on Judicial Reforms of the House Committee on Justice, which is chaired by Congressman Marcelino “Ching” Veloso, approved a bill restoring the death penalty in the Philippines by railroading the proceedings in the committee and ignoring important questions from other lawmakers questioning the need for the legislation or its urgent passage.


The decision to approve such a bill by the sub-committee was done with so much haste that there was not even a report presented, as is the normal practice, on the discussions and information presented in the previous hearings.


The Philippines is a State Party to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which means that it is obliged not to carry out executions within its jurisdiction and not to reintroduce the death penalty.


The Philippines has always been viewed as a regional and global leader on the drive to abolish the death penalty around the world. Bringing back the death penalty into its laws would be an enormous step backward for the country, signaling a comprehensive degradation of respect for the right to life and other international legal obligations.


The UN General Assembly has repeatedly adopted resolutions by overwhelming majorities, calling on all States that retain the death penalty to impose a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing it.


We categorically and absolutely oppose the death penalty in any and all circumstances and consider its use to be a violation of the right to life and freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment.


It cannot be emphasized enough that significant and overwhelming evidence shows that the death penalty is not effective at deterring crime at a greater rate than alternative forms of punishment.


We call on the Government of the Philippines to instead invest in improved detection and investigation techniques and capacity, and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice system. These measures are more likely to achieve real results in reducing crime.


We strongly urge members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines to ensure their discussions in the next few days on this bill restoring the death penalty are based on evidence and facts.


We strongly urge members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines not to view this as a purely political exercise and instead seriously consider not only what the impact of the passage of this bill will have on the international obligations of the Philippines, but also on how it would affect the notions of justice and human rights in the country.


We appeal to members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines to stop further attempts to reintroduce the death penalty and to block any legislation that subverts human rights.




  1. Alcohol and Drug Foundation (Australia)
  2. Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance Against Mining) (Philippines)
  3. Amnesty International
  4. Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (Russia)
  5. Artikulo Tres Human Rights Alliance Inc. (Philippines)
  6. Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
  7. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  8. Ateneo de Davao Legal Aid Office (Philippines)
  9. Bernice C. Mendoza, Lawyer (Philippines)

10.Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Canada)

11.Centro de Investigación Drogas y Derechos Humanos (CIDDH) (Peru)

12.Charles Hector, Human Rights Defender and Lawyer (Malaysia)

13.Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific

14.Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Puerto Rico

15.Collectif français Libérons Mumia

16.Commission on the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) (Indonesia)

17.Death Penalty Focus

18.Defend the Defenders (DTD) (Philippines)

19.Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM)

20.FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

21.Focus on the Global South

22.Forum Droghe – Italia (Italy)

23.Housing Works (United States)

24.Human Rights Online (Philippines)

25.In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (Philippines)

26.Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (Indonesia)

27.Indonesian Legal Roundtable (Indonesia)

28.Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) (Indonesia)

29.International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP)

30.International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

31.International Drug Policy Consortium

32.International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT)

33.Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Australia)

34.LBH Masyarakat (Indonesia)

35.M.Ravi, Human Rights Advocate (Singapore)

36.MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)(Malaysia)

37.Malaysian Bar

38.Mamamayan Tutol sa Bitay (Philippines)

39.MARUAH (The Working Group on an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism-Singapore)

40.Mary Jane N. Real, Women”s Human Rights Advocate (Philippines)

41.Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity, and Nationalism (MABINI)(Philippines)

42.NGO 4 Life (Montenegro)

43.Observatory of Crops Declared Illicit (Colombia)

44.Penington Institute (Australia)

45.Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

46.Philippine Human Rights Information Center PHILRIGHTS

47.Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (LILAK)(Philippines)

48.Reprieve (Australia)

49.Reseau d’Alerte et d’Intervention pour les Droits de l’Homme (RAIDH)

50.Ricardo Fernandez, Lawyer (Philippines)

51.Romanian Harm Reduction Network (Romania)

52.Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) (Philippines)

53.Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)

54.Social Watch (Benin)

55.Syndicat national des agents de la formation et de l’education du Niger (SYNAFEN)

56.Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (Taiwan)

57.TB/HIV Care Association (South Africa)

58.Todung Mulya Lubis, Lawyer (Indonesia)

59.Tyrell Haberkorn, Political and Social Change, Australian National University

60.Union contre la Co-infection VIH/Hépatites/Tuberculose (UNICO)(Ivory Coast)

61.Vietnam Independent Civil Society Organizations Network (VICSON)

62.Vietnamese Women for Human Rights

63.WANEP GUINÉE-BISSAU (West Africa Network for Peacebuilding) (Guinea Bissau)

64.We Believe in Second Chances  (Singapore)

65.West Africa Drug Policy Network (Ghana)

66.World March of Women (Philippines)

67.Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (Zimbabwe)


Singapore -Impending Execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha on 18/11/2016 [A Media Statement]

Media Statement – Impending Execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha on 18/11/2016

A Door to Hope

 Chijioke Case


Very soon, yet another individual is about to be executed in a state sanctioned hanging. According to Amnesty International, the date for the execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha (a Nigerian national) has been set for this Friday, 18 November 2016.


On 9 April 2007, Chijioke was found in possession of more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis, exceeding the statutory amount of 500 grams that under Singapore law triggers the automatic presumption of trafficking. Also in his possession were keys to a room containing additional prohibited substances, leading the authorities to presume him guilty of possession and knowledge of the drugs. In August 2010, an appeal against Chijioke’s conviction and sentence was rejected. In 2013, when amendments to Singapore’s mandatory death penalties laws kicked in, Chijioke initially refused to make use of his right to resentencing. In April 2015, his clemency appeal was rejected and his execution was set for May 2015. Just one day before the execution, he was allowed to apply for resentencing. Following legal advice that he would not qualify as a “courier” under the amended laws, Chijioke withdrew his application for resentencing. This led to the lifting of the stay of execution on 24 October 2016 and the setting of the execution date.


Chijioke has endured more than 9 punishing years in prison. He has been detained not for the purposes of treatment nor rehabilitation but for the purposes of awaiting execution. He has faced unprecedented mental anguish. Changes to the law in 2012 gave him a glimmer of hope but this was again snatched away from him. To our knowledge, Chijioke’s case is possibly the longest delay of an execution in Singapore’s history till today.


In Pratt and Morgan v Attorney-General for Jamaica, the Privy Council held that the delay of 5 years and 6 months which had elapsed since an accused’s conviction amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and breached his constitutional right not to be deprived of life.



A Door towards Hope


Arguments showing any prolonged delay in the execution of an accused could becapable of being a violation of human rights, as inhuman and as degrading. A plethora of international human rights instruments prohibit tortureor cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This prohibition is also found in numerous domestic constitutions.Studies on death row inmates reveal that delays and uncertainties cause depression, loss of the sense of reality, personality distortions, physical and mental deterioration. Judges in several American and Indian decisions have decided that though the death penalty itself may not be cruel per se, lingering delays in solitude with the knowledge of impending extinction that amounts to cruelty.


There was opportunity for Singapore to address the question of delay in death row in 1995. In Jabar v Public Prosecutorthe accused had been languishing in jail for over 5 years awaiting execution. His lawyers placed reliance on Indian cases andthe Jamaican case of Pratt and Morgan, however, the Court of Appeal found “dubious” reasons to distinguish those cases and the one before them.


The Court in Jabar’s case concluded that the situation in Singapore was markedly different because the death penalty was mandatory here unlike India. In contrast to the position held during Jabar’s case, Singapore’s mandatory death penalty regime had seen changes in 2012 to give discretion to judges in certain circumstances especially drug trafficking cases.Also, the Court in Jabar overlooked the fact that the unambiguous finding by the Indian Supreme Court was that supervening events might render a lawfully and justifiably imposed death sentence unlawful.


We argue that the fact that the sentence is mandatory does not detract from the mental anguish and torment he had to endure as a result of the delay.At this stage, we are not challenging the judicial death penalty sentence itself, but rather to its execution after such an inordinate delay.We place little emphasis on the duration of the delay itself as thismay cause unnecessary controversy in semantics in what is deemed as “unreasonable delay”. It should also not matter also whether it was the accused himself who caused the delay as it would be acceptable for him to take every step conceivable to turn his ill fate around.As a way forward, we wish to emphasise on the actual effects or consequences of the delay in depriving his life and personal liberty.


The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign and several other local and international human rights groups are working tirelessly to campaign on behalf of Chijioke to halt the execution.The impending execution of Chijioke is clearly unlawful under international law and arguably under Singapore law. We are looking to work closely with our Nigerian counterparts and international community to make a difference.


We call upon the Singapore Government to reconsider its decision and commute the death sentence imposed on Chijioke.



  1. Ravi,

Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign




Pakistan Supreme Court rules schizophrenia ‘not a mental disorder’ allowing mentally ill man to be executed

Pakistan Supreme Court rules schizophrenia ‘not a mental disorder’ allowing mentally ill man to be executed

Judges say hanging Imdad Ali is legal because condition is ‘a recoverable disease’

Lizzie Dearden
Thursday 20 October 2016


Activists from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) carry placards during a demonstration to mark International Day Against the Death Penalty in Islamabad on October 10, 2015 AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan’s highest court has ruled that schizophrenia does not qualify as a “mental disorder” under the country’s legal definition, paving the way for a mentally ill man’s execution.

The United Nations warned it would be against international law to hang Imdad Ali, who was sentenced to death over the murder of a religious scholar in 2002.

In 2012, the 50-year-old was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and psychosis that doctors said impaired Mr Ali’s “rational thinking and decision-making capabilities”, and was declared clinically insane in a medical report the following year.

But he lost his final appeal last year and has since had his execution stayed by a last-minute appeal lodged by his wife at the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, judges ruled that the execution can go ahead, after finding that Mr Ali’s schizophrenia is not a permanent condition and varies according to the “level of stress”.

Reprieve, a UK-based legal charity, said the court claimed that “it is, therefore, a recoverable disease, which, in all the cases, does not fall within the definition of ‘mental disorder’ as defined in the Mental Health Ordinance, 2001”.

The decision Mr Ali could be executed as early as 26 October, despite a medical assessment in September concluding his illness appeared to be “treatment resistant”.

Previously, the same court said a large proportion of prisoners in Pakistan suffer from mental illness and that authorities “cannot let everyone go”.

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said: “It is outrageous for Pakistan’s Supreme Court to claim that schizophrenia is not a mental illness, and flies in the face of accepted medical knowledge, including Pakistan’s own mental health laws.

“It is terrifying to think that a mentally ill man like Imdad Ali could now hang because judges are pretending that schizophrenia is not a serious condition.

“Pakistan’s President needs to urgently intervene to stop this sickening attempt to hang Imdad.”

The UN’s human rights office has called on the government to halt Mr Ali’s execution and to launch a re-trial “in compliance with international standards”.

“It is a violation of death penalty safeguards to impose capital punishment on individuals with a psychosocial disability,” said a panel of experts from the Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR).

“The courts have disregarded medical reports asserting that the defendant has a psychosocial disability and have not conducted an independent evaluation of his mental health status.

“Implementing the death penalty under these conditions is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution, as well as a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.”

The body said Mr Ali was referred for mental health treatment a year before the alleged murder but that the illness was not mentioned in the court ruling sentencing him to death.

In September, the first secretary of Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN said the government was examining the country’s penal code to determine whether the death penalty could be “narrowed” amid criticism over Mr Ali’s case.

More than 400 people have been executed since the government lifted a four-year moratorium on the death penalty in 2014, following the Taliban’s massacre at a school in Peshawar.

Capital punishment was initially only restored for terror offences but later reinstated for kidnapping, murder, blasphemy and other capital crimes, leaving more than 8,000 prisoners on death row. – Independent, 20/10/2016


%d bloggers like this: