EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 39/04/95
EXTRA 115/95 Fear of imminent execution 29 September 1995
THAILAND One unnamed prisoner
Amnesty International is gravely concerned by reports that a prisoner may be
executed in Thailand on 8 October 1995, in what would be the first execution
there since 1987.
The 18 September 1995 edition of the Thai newspaper, the Nation, reported an
official of the Interior Ministry as saying that a man, whose name has been
withheld, would be executed in order to deter others from criminal activity.
The man, who is reportedly detained at Bang Kwang Maximum Security Prison,
was convicted of robbery and murder carried out on three occasions in 1985,
1986, and 1987, in the eastern province of Chonburi.
According to Section 262 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Thailand, the King
may grant a pardon within 60 days from the date of a petition for commutation
of a death sentence. According to the 24 September edition of the Nation, the
Corrections Department blocked this man's petition in 1993 for Royal clemency
on the grounds that allowing condemned convicts to seek Royal clemency makes
the death sentence less effective as a deterrent.
Amnesty International fears that the threat to execute this man may indicate
a decision of the recently-elected Thai government to resume carrying out death
The death penalty in Thailand is mandatory for premeditated murder, the murder
of an official on government business, production or trafficking of heroin,
and regicide. It is optional for rape, robbery, kidnapping, arson and bombing
if death results, insurrection, treason, airline hijacking and espionage, and
possession of more than 100 grams of heroin. It is unclear how many prisoners
are currently on death row. The Nation reports that more than 270 prisoners
have been sentenced to death, and The Bangkok Post, another Thai newspaper,
reports 109 death sentences.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- urging the Royal Thai Government not to carry out the execution of a male
prisoner reportedly planned for 8 October 1995;
- expressing concern at reports that his petition for royal clemency was blocked
in 1993, and urging that his sentence now be commuted;
- expressing sympathy for the victims of violent crime, but stressing that
the death penalty has never been shown to be an effective deterrent to such
- explaining your opposition to the death penalty as a violation of the right
to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- welcoming the fact that the death penalty has not been carried out in Thailand
since 1987 but voicing concern that a resumption in its use would represent
a retrograde step in law enforcement in Thailand;
- calling on the Royal Thai Government to consider abolishing the death penalty
as a punishment.