On 24 November Srinuannad Wanchai, a top police official and chairman of the subcommittee of the Thai National Commission for Human Rights (Nhrct) organized a public debate on the theme "The death penalty ... what do Thais think? '. He recalls that "in today the world's 139 countries have abolished the death penalty and only 59 still apply it. Thailand is one of them. A punishment that blatantly violates basic human rights".
The last execution took place on 24 August, against two defendants convicted of drug trafficking. The last case goes back six years, in 2003: the death penalty was commuted for the first time, four prisoners by lethal injection, which has replaced the shooting.
In the weeks following the killing of two traffickers, the European Union condemned the practice, asking the Thai government for its repeal. Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva replied that "the majority of citizens are in favour" because it acts as a "deterrent" to crime.
Nathee Jitsawang, former director general of the Prison Department, agrees that the majority of Thais approve the use of the death sentence, but adds that "several studies show that this severe punishment does nothing to prevent major crimes." He emphasizes that it is "time to use other alternative punishments" such as "life imprisonment".
Conflicting opinions emerged among the forum participants, reflecting the widespread sentiment among the public. Paratala, a young man of 25, makes it clear that capital punishment is imposed "at the end of the three court decision" and is "applied in very few cases". Sangkom, 40, is "in favour of the death penalty." Unlike the opinion of Verapong, 50, who stresses that "no one can end the life of another individual."