Monday, June 06, 2011

Protest against the death penalty for homosexuality

Death Penalty Thailand on Saturday 25th June joins in world rejection of the death penalty for homosexuality.

Nine countries still enforce the death penalty against homosexuals:
Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Soudan, Yémen.

Allah is All-merciful

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Conference on Prison Conditions in Thailand

As the possibility arises that Thailand will replace the death penalty with life imprisonment, we turn our attention to conditions of long term imprisonment. On 31st May UCL organised an afternoon conference on prison conditions in Thailand. What follows is a BBC report on the conference.
Prisoners in Thailand kept 'shackled and cramped'
By Vaudine England BBC News, Bangkok
An independent rights group in Thailand, the Union for Civil Liberties, has opened a campaign to improve conditions in Thailand's jails. It has issued a report on prisons which highlights overcrowding, the use of shackles and the lack of medical care. The group has campaigned against the death penalty and praises the government's promise to commute death sentences to life imprisonment.
That makes improving prison conditions even more important, it says.
Thailand's prisons are built to hold about 100,000 people - but according to the government's own figures, they are holding more than twice that number.
As a result, the conditions, says the Union for Civil Liberties, are horrendous.
People have to sleep in tight rows on hard floors. In these sleeping cells, each prisoner has an average of one square metre - as opposed to the four to six square metres described as the minimum by the Council of Europe.
Danthong Breen, chairman of the union, says the overcrowding is shocking.
"In the women's prison it's particularly bad. You have 200 women in a single cell," he told the BBC. "If one of them has to get up at night to go to the toilet, they all shift a bit and when she comes back the space is gone and she has to stand up all night.
"The level of crowding is inhuman and inhumane."
The other horror, he says, is the widespread use of shackles.
These are welded on to the ankles of long-term prisoners and are not removed, even during illness, until the sentence is served.
The United Nations has criticised the practice. The Thai foreign ministry has promised to end it. The constitutional court ruled the practice was wrong.
But the reality of the over-crowding and a ratio of warders to prisoners of about one to 45, makes the practice hard to stamp out.
Prisoners with money are able to improve every aspect of their life behind bars, Mr Breen says. But a lack of government money is holding back investment in new facilities and extra staff.
The civil liberties group suggests Thailand could look more at using non-custodial sentences. It estimates at least half of those jailed are being held for drugs offences.
And it hopes that whatever government emerges from elections next month, the promise to no longer impose the death penalty is kept.

Not revenge, but forgiveness is sweet

Victim of 9/11 hate crime fights for attacker's life
Days after the 9/11 terror attacks, 31-year old laborer Mark Stroman went on a shooting spree in the Dallas area. In a drug-fueled mission of revenge, he killed two South Asian immigrants and shot another — Rais Bhuiyan — in the face at close range, blinding him in one eye.
Shortly after his arrest, Stroman boasted of his role as "Arab Slayer."
Now, as Stroman faces imminent execution in Texas, an unlikely champion is fighting to save his life: Bhuiyan, who spent years recovering from the wounds he suffered in the attack.
"I've had many years to grow spiritually," said Bhuiyan, a Muslim who immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh and now works as technology professional in Dallas. "I'm trying to do my best not to allow the loss of another human life. I'll knock on every door possible."Bhuiyan began collecting signatures late last year on a petition asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Stroman's death penalty sentence to life in prison without parole through his website World without Hate.
Among those supporting his cause are some relatives of the two victims who were killed.
'Unprecedented' The odds are stacked against Stroman, 41, who is held in the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, where he is scheduled to be executed on July 20.
The seven-member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles holds the power to recommend a commutation to the governor, but it has only done so in one death penalty case since December 2000, when the current Gov. Rick Perry took office. That recommendation was denied by Perry.
By Kari Huus, Canada msn news June 3