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Amnesty, EU protest resumed executions in Thailand

The European Union and Amnesty International on Thursday decried the resumption of the death penalty in Thailand, after two men convicted of drug trafficking were executed.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The European Union and Amnesty International on Thursday decried the resumption of the death penalty in Thailand, after two men convicted of drug trafficking were executed.

The Swedish presidency of the EU reiterated the bloc's opposition to the death penalty "in all cases and under all circumstances," and it urged the Thai government to abolish the act to "protect human dignity."

The executions marked the end of an almost six-year "de facto moratorium" in Thailand, it said.

In the last 10 months, Burundi, Togo and the U.S. state of New Mexico have abolished the death penalty, while the U.N. General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly for a moratorium on executions, the London-based human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement.

"The government of Thailand should follow their example and urgently review its use of the death penalty," it said.

A Thai Corrections Department official said the men, convicted of drug trafficking in 2001, were executed Monday by lethal injection. The official, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to release information to the press, said their petition for clemency to King Bhumibol Adulyadej had been refused and returned on Aug. 13.

According to Amnesty, Thailand's last executions were in 2003, when four people were killed by lethal injection. Thailand that same year changed its law to have executions carried out by injection instead of shooting.

According to the Corrections Department, there are 832 convicts sentenced to death, 371 of whom were convicted of drug-related crimes. There are 115 who have petitions for clemency pending.

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Associated Press writer Malin Rising in Stockholm contributed to this report.