Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (19 June) on the execution of 26-year-old Theerasak Longji:
I was deeply shocked to learn of the execution of 26-year-old Theerasak Longji in Thailand. The Thai Government had only recently given assurances that the de-facto moratorium on the death penalty, which has been in place since August 2009, would continue to be honoured. The Government’s decision to suddenly suspend the de-facto moratorium after almost nine years and to carry out an execution is a regrettable step backwards and a dreadful signal.
Bearing in mind the 516 convicts on death row in Thailand, I urge those responsible to refrain from carrying out further executions. The death penalty is an inhuman and degrading form of punishment. Studies show that it has no deterrent effect. Furthermore, it is impossible to entirely rule out the possibility of wrongful convictions – with irreparable consequences if the defendant has been executed.
The death penalty is incompatible with human dignity.
The number of crimes for which capital punishment can be imposed has increased under the present military government – the death sentence is now on the books for 63 different offences. With this large number of offences which may incur the death penalty and the resumption of executions, Thailand is distancing itself from the worldwide trend of abolishing the death penalty. More than two-thirds of all countries around the world have now abolished capital punishment. This momentum must be used in order to bring around all the remaining countries, such as Thailand, which still adhere to the death penalty. The German Government and the European Union are actively campaigning for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.