Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Thailand: Drug kingpin Lao Ta jailed for life, son gets death penalty

Lao Ta Saenlee
The Criminal Court yesterday sentenced former Kuomintang fighter Lao Ta Saenlee, 77, to life imprisonment, and his son to death, for selling about 20 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice, to undercover agents in Chiang Mai province last year.

Lao Ta was known formerly as an aide to the late drug kingpin Khun Sa. He had consistently denied being involved in Class-A drug trafficking though admitted he used to trade in opium in the 1970s.

Lao Ta and four other defendants were arrested in a sting operation. Plainclothes police ordered the meth from them at a petrol station owned by Lao Ta in tambon Tha Ton of Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district on Oct 11, 2016.

Public prosecutors arraigned the five people in December 2016, on charges of narcotics trafficking between Sept 20 and Oct 11 last year.

The court was told a plainclothes policewoman who spoke Yunnan Chinese first contacted Lao Ta's drug broker and ordered 1kg of crystal meth. Lao Ta delivered it at his petrol station and his wife Asama, 67, received the agreed 550,000 baht in payment.

Police later placed a larger order, for 20kg, and were quoted a price of 11 million baht. The arrest was made on Oct 11 during the delivery at the petrol station where Lao Ta, his family and associates were present. Police also seized military-grade firearms and ammunition from them.

The arrest put an end to a two-year police hunt for the drug kingpin. Lao Ta's drug network was tough to penetrate because he ran it through front businesses, police said.

Lao Ta's drug ring was among 60 influential narcotics networks in the country, 30 of which have been taken down, according to police.

Because Lao Ta and his wife confessed, the court commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment and reduced his wife's life sentence to 25 years. They were fined 2.5 million baht each.

Rapeekan Saimul, the 58-year-old drug broker who told the court she had sold fertiliser, was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined 5 million baht.

Lao Ta's son Wicharn Barameekuakulsap, 42, who was a kamnan, and Baramee Barameekuakulsap, 39, denied the drug charge and claimed they were only supervising the petrol station. They were sentenced to death. They have been denied bail since their arrest but said they would appeal.

Source: Bangkok Post, December 14, 2017

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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