No pardons for corruption, drug trafficking, rape-murder convictions – Survey

Most respondents to recent NIDA Poll do not agree with the granting of pardons to convicted corrupt politicians or officials, rapist-murders, drug traffickers or those convicted of other serious crimes.

Thailand’s National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) conducted telephone interviews, from December 13th to 15th, to gauge the opinions of 1,317 people, in various occupations and of different educational backgrounds, concerning the controversial Royal pardon proposed for to many convicts, including those imprisoned for corruption, drug trafficking and other serious crimes.

The Royal pardon was initiated by Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin and has drawn flak from a wide range of people, including former members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Anti-Corruption Thailand, senators and academics, after it was discovered that several former ministers, senior officials and businessmen, currently serving long prison terms for their involvement in the massive corruption in the rice pledging scheme, of the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, will receive significant prison term reductions.

Most opposition parties, however, are yet to comment on this issue.

In response to a question about reductions of prison terms for convicted corrupt individuals, the poll shows 50.04% disagree, 26.27% say the convict should serve at least half of their term in order to be pardoned, 20.02% agree with the pardon and 1.67% say they do not have an opinion.

For convicted drug traffickers, the poll shows 74.03% disagree with the pardon, 12.76% say the convict should serve at least half of their term first and 12.53% say they agree with the pardon.

For those convicted of other serious crimes, such as rape and murder, the poll shows 85.88% disagree with the pardon, 7.14% say the convict must serve at least half of their term and 6.98% agree they should be pardoned.

Asked who should have the authority to assess the inmates for sentence reduction eligibility, 54.52% of the respondents it should be a collective decision by various law enforcement agencies, such as judges and prosecutors, and should not be at the sole discretion of the Corrections Department.


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