Two Prisoners Executed in Thailand

Two drug traffickers on death row at Bang Kwang Prison were executed by lethal injections this evening in Thailand. They were Bundit Charoenwanich, 45, and Jirawat Phumpruek, 52. Both were arrested on March 29, 2001 for having 114,219 methamphetamine tablets in their possession. Convicted of drug trafficking, they were given the capital punishment. Although the death sentence is often commuted to life imprisonment, the Director of the Department of Corrections received a directive from the Prime Ministers office for this sentence to be carried out.

According to Thai newspapers, the execution happened this evening at 5.30 p.m. at Bang Kwang Prison. No-one knew it was going to happen as it was kept a secret from everyone. Lockdown was at 3 p.m. as normal. Then the two prisoners were taken out of their cells on Death Row to be prepared for the execution. This preparation took one hour. They were allowed one call to relatives but they were only given one minute to talk. One of the prisoners rang his home but there was no answer. His mother had just been to visit him that afternoon and probably hadn’t reached home. The prisoner then asked for a favour to call her mobile phone which was granted. Finally he was able to get through to her to let her know that he was about to be executed. The other prisoner spoke briefly to his wife and young son.

The prisoners were also instructed to write a will. The records of the prisoners were brought to the prison from the police station. Their fingerprints were then checked to make sure they had the right prisoner. The execution order from the Prime Minister’s office was then read out to them. They were then given flowers and incense sticks and given an opportunity to say a prayer. They faced towards Wat Bang Praek which is next door and where the cremation will take place. There is a small death door in the wall here. Before the execution, they were offered a last meal. This was a curry and fried asparagus. They were also given an apple and a packet of cigarettes. Obviously they weren’t very hungry. They were then led into the execution chamber where they were given a final blessing and sermon by a monk.

The governor of Nonthaburi and other government officials attended the execution together with reporters. The relatives weren’t present but they will go the prison in the morning to take part in religious rites for the prisoners. The last execution by machine gun was carried out on 11th December 2002. This was then changed to lethal injection. The first and last time this was carried out was 12th December 2003 when four prisoners were executed. This is now the second occasion that lethal injection was used. According to the Department of Corrections, a prisoner is injected with three kinds of drugs consisting of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The first drug is a barbiturate which makes the prisoner unconscious. The second one is a muscle relaxant which can paralyze the entire muscle and stop breathing. The last one stops the heart and causes cardiac arrest.

This is a sad day for Thailand. I am sorry but I don’t believe in the death penalty and I certainly don’t believe in the lethal injection as the method.

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14 responses to “Two Prisoners Executed in Thailand

  1. My deepest sympathy to our two Thai bandits.Unfortunately it’s the rule of law.The law has clearly stated this section of offence.
    It might sound inhumane with this lethal painless extermination but it’s better than seeing a hangman or being sent to the guillotine.A set of execution rules that dates back to history.

  2. This is a good example to be set for the rest of the world. Now all they need to do is to start speeding up the process and place the event on the evening news.

    Great job…. Justice is served

  3. I’d also like to express my sympathy for these two people whose lives are being taken.

  4. Bill, can you be so sure in every case that these guys weren’t innocent? There are many cases where people were in the wrong place at the wrong time or were set up by others. Anyway, I really don’t like the death penalty for crimes which are either minor in some countries or were legal during some periods of time. How will future people look at us? Do we really have the right to terminate the life of other people? Surely only God can choose the time and place of someone’s death.

  5. John:

    Dont get me wrong, I am not advocating that they be killed the day after the conviction in most cases… but there are times when there is no reason to waste time and money on an appeal.

    These guys were caught red handed so no sympathy.

    There will always be some chance that some person will be innocent somewhere, but in civilized counties those chances are minimized by the established systems. As for as I am concerned there is no need to worry about how future generations will see our actions nor try and guess what “God” will or wont do… If God was concerned then there would not have been any issue in the first place.
    Face it there are people that do bad things in this world and some of those things deserve the ultimate penalty and when that is the case it should be quick and public… then at least there may be a deterrent…. taking decades to carry out the sentence serves no one

  6. I don’t think the death penalty is a deterrent. In the book, The Last Executioner, the guy said that he was surprised that a member of his team was dealing in drugs. Of all people he should have seen the consequences of his actions. But he still did it. He was caught and later executed.

  7. Martin Widmer

    No government should be allowed to kill it’s own people. The law offers enough other options, which mostly leave a door open for falsely accused to be compensated in case their innocence should be revealed. Death penalty does not. I wish it would stop all over the world.

  8. Steve Suphan

    Another very sad thing about this story is that those who were executed were no more than a couple of example-setters used by the new Aphisit (democratic) goverment to show the nation how tough a stance they are taking on their new anti-drug war. They ought to be totally ashamed to use 2 prisoners on death row (amongst how many!) as political pawns.
    Thaksin did the same once, when one day he called in all the media and reporters, to report on 4 who were on the way to be executed. It was like a reality show (and it really was). The media were allowed to follow their every moment, braodcast it on TV and everything. The only bit they couldn’t film live was the actual execution. As sick as the story above, the family of the four only found about what happened on the evening Channel 7 news.
    Political publicity policy like this, is for me, more sick than pushing a few thousands Meth pills.

  9. Would have much preferred to see Abhisit given the lethal injection. He’s committed more crimes than these two guys.

  10. Richard:

    Sadly I musy agree that currently the death penalty is not a deterrant, the problem is the time from comviction to execution. By the time the criminal is put down nobody remembers what they did to deserve the punishment.

    I understand that there needs to be a reasonable time for a review of the evidence as part of a double check to make sure there were no errors (or be as sure as is possible) but to wait for years, or decades is a crime in and of itself.

    A review of the evidence by should only take weeks or even days depending on the specifics and if all is correct then the execution should take place as soon as is practical and be public.

    Then there would be some level of deterrant, it wont stop everyone but it might stop some and there is value in that.


  11. Bill, you say: “in civilized counties those chances are minimized by the established systems”. Well, don’t forget Sacco and Vanzetti, they were innocent and the US Government killed them.

  12. Jack:

    That was 1927 get real!!! Not everyone deserves to live, some people deserve to die for crimes committed against civilized society.

  13. no to death penaLTY, YES to rehabilitation.

  14. everybody gotta die sometime……rather be dead than stewing in prison forever