Bangkok, May 23 – Amnesty International Thailand called for the abolition of the death penalty in Thailand, one of 21 countries where capital punishment is still in use. Currently, 706 Thais are under sentence of death, according to the Amnesty International Human Rights Report 2013.
Parinya Boonridrerthaikul, director of Amnesty International Thailand
Parinya Boonridrerthaikul, the director of Amnesty International Thailand, said during the launch of the report held at the Royal Benja Hotel that in Thailand, of these 706 prisoners, 67 had exhausted all appeals as of May 1, 2013.
In August 2012, 58 prisoners had their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment. However last year, more than a hundred prisoners were sentenced to death, double the number from the previous year, she said.
“Amenesty International Thailand is asking the government to reform the death penalty law, by changing the penalty to life imprisonment instead,” said Parinya. She added that there are currently 55 criminal offences in Thai law that carry the death penalty.
Amnesty International Thailand also called on Thailand to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OP2), which was adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 15, 1989.
According to AI, 114 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. 21 countries are known to have executed 682 prisoners in 2012, compared to 680 in 2011. However, this number excludes what are estimated to be thousands of unreported executions carried out in China. Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen still continue to use the death penalty on extensive scale; executions in those four countries accounts for 99 % of all executions in the Middle East.
Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India carried out executions last year after some years with no executions, while Singapore and Malaysia made efforts to abolish the death-penalty law and Vietnam did not carry out any of executions for the first time in decades. In Myanmar, all death row prisoners had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment in 2012, but another 17 people were subsequently sentenced to death.