[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jul 8 10:41:37 CDT 2004
Megawati rejects mercy for more drug traffickers on death row
President Megawati Soekarnoputri said Thursday she has refused to pardon 7
convicted drug traffickers who face a firing squad because she has a duty
to protect Indonesia's young people.
She said that earlier Thursday she denied a pardon to the 7. Last month
she refused clemency for other 4 offenders under sentence of death.
Megawati said in a speech she took no pleasure in rejecting appeals for
"I have to stress that it is my obligation to protect our nation, our
children and successive generations whose future is threatened by the
crime of drug abuse and trafficking," she said.
Megawati said authorities are now firmer in fighting drug abuse and
trafficking. In the past 18 months alone, a total of 764 drugs cases have
been filed in court, she said.
Amnesty International last month urged Megawati to commute death sentences
for Indian national Ayodhya Prasad Chaubey and 3 other prisoners.
The government has said the 4 will be the 1st drug traffickers executed
here in recent years. Their executions may be imminent.
Chaubey is 1 of more than 2 dozen people on death row for drug offences.
No executions have been carried out in recent years, but police said last
month that firing squads were being trained.
Chaubey was caught in 1994 as he tried to smuggle 12 kilograms (26 pounds)
of heroin into the country.
(source: Agence France Presse)
SUKHUM TRIAL: Ex-senator gets death sentence -- Judge denies defendants
claims he was framed in murder of business partner
Former senator Sukhum Choedchuen was yesterday sentenced to death for
plotting the 1999 murder of Nicharee Makornsarn, a Chulalongkorn Hospital
doctor with whom he was fighting a court battle over a Bt200 million plot
The murder trial lasted for more than 7 years, and one of Sukhum's 4
alleged accomplices died and had his case discharged before a verdict was
The 3 surviving accomplices, who were found to have killed Nicharee on
Sukhums request, were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Sukhum appeared shocked after the death sentence was read, and had to be
assisted to a prison van after his bail application was denied.
Before going to the remand prison, Sukhum said he was confident of winning
the appellate review.
"I didn't kill anyone. I was framed. Wait and see! My case is like the
Sherry Ann Duncan case," he said, referring to the notorious miscarriage
of justice when police framed suspects in order to solve the rape and
murder of a Thai-American girl.
Nicharee was shot 5 times at close range while leaving her home for work
in October 1999.
4 months later, police arrested six suspected gunmen and their alleged
procurers before beginning to build the case against Sukhum
Four of the suspects, Thanasak Yimdee, Sarawut Chaising, Chatchapat
Kitithanakorn and Wichien Kitithanakorn, were prosecuted along with
Sukhum. Chatchapat died during the trial.
The remaining 2 suspects, Metta Temchamnan and Mongkol Nokthong, became
In the 3-hour verdict session, presiding judge Manit Jittachan recapped
the case against Sukhum. Between January and February 1999, Sukhum
contracted Metta and Mongkol to hire gunmen to kill Nicharee.
While the first 2 murder attempts failed, conspiracy for murder had
already been committed, Manit said.
After the 3rd and fatally successful attempt, Sukhum paid Bt500,000 to his
4 accomplices for carrying out the contract on Nicharee.
"Sukhum had bitter conflicts with Nicharee on many issues relating to the
management of a school and a dispute over a Bt200 million plot of land
that belonged to the Makornsarn estate," the judge said.
In forming his decision, the judge said he had reviewed evidence from the
victims surviving family members, who confirmed the SukhumNicharee feud,
case investigators who outlined the motive, arresting officers,
interrogators, forensic experts, weapons procurers and Sukhum's 4
"More than 100 witness statements and other evidence point to Sukhum
plotting the murder. This court has no cause to suspect these witnesses
were choreographed to frame him," the judge said.
Although the defence contended Sukhum was framed, it failed to back up its
perjury allegations, he added.
In handing down capital punishment, Manit reprimanded Sukhum for showing
no remorse and said he had no grounds to grant leniency.
For the 3 surviving accomplices, he cited their confession as grounds to
reduce their penalties to life imprisonment.
Defence lawyer Surasingh Jensajjawan said he would file for an appeal
within 30 days.
Fall from grace
Born in 1957, the eldest son of furniture export tycoon Chote Chirdchuen,
former senator Sukhum Chirdchuen received his bachelors degree in business
in Singapore and went on to expand his family business and later set up
his own car leasing business under the Million Group company.
Sukhum went on to real estate, where he gained fame with projects such as
the ChaAm Royal Beach in Phetchaburi and the Sukhum Chirdchuen Tower on
In 1996, Sukhum entered politics as a senator during the Banharn
But politics proved a more difficult route than business for Sukhum, and
he was attacked by the opposition for intentionally holding back some of
his asset reports. As a result, in 1999 he had to start a 5-year break
from any involvement in political affairs.
In the same year a Chulalongkorn Hospital female doctor, Dr Nicharee
Makonsarn, was shot dead in front of her house. The suspects fingered
Sukhum as the person who had hired them to kill the doctor for Bt500,000.
A police investigation revealed Sukhums motive: he and Nicharee's mother
were having conflicts over the real estate business.
(source: The Nation)
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