Bangkok (AsiaNews) - "I told them to repent for sins committed and not to harbour feelings of revenge, for a peaceful journey to the world to come". This is an extract from the sermon delivered by Buddhist monk Phrakru Mahasrinonthawat to two death row prisoners shortly before they were executed. "They were deeply saddened – says the leader of Bangpreaktai temple, in the province of Nonthaburi - their faces were emaciated, their hands terribly cold”.
Bundit Jaroenwanit, 45, and Jirawat Poompreuk, 52, were killed by lethal injection last August 24 in the prison of Bang Khwang, Thailand. Both were arrested in 2001 for drug trafficking, the police had surprised them with a cargo of 114,219 pearls of methamphetamine, worth 1.2 million U.S. dollars. It is the second case of death by lethal injection since 2003, when an amendment to Article 19 of the Criminal Code changed the terms of execution: from death by firing squad to lethal injection.
"After listening to my words - adds Phrakru Mahasrinonthawat – they asked to touch my robe, I took their hands in mine, to comfort them. I did my best, so they would die in peace”. The death row inmates received three injections: the first a sedative, and the second to relax their muscles and the third, the fatal one, a drug that stopped their hearts.
Chartchai Sitthikrom, from the Committee for the prevention and control of drug trafficking, explained that this is an "exemplary" punishment in stopping others involved drug trafficking. "A prisoner awaiting death lives in suffering – he adds - without knowing when the time of death will come. They are dead men walking, under pressure and without freedom”.
Since 1996 in Thailand more than 100 death sentences have been carried out for crimes ranging from drug trafficking and rape to murder. Currently there are 32 prisoners on death row, waiting to be executed