Executions Are Back On!
Monday 24th August 2009 and executions are back on the menu here at Bangkwang Prison - with over four hundred inmates sentenced to Death this is not good news.
As you will know this was previously done by firing squad which was stopped six years ago and replaced with lethal injection. When they first used this method they did not quite get it right and it took the prisoner hours to die so executions were stopped and after all of this time everyone was left thinking that the Death sentence was all but name only.
That was until the seven o'clock news came on and it was announced to the people of Thailand that two prisoners had been executed that night in Bangkwang. In here it is very hard for anything to be kept a secret but they did well with this one ... not a single person knowing until it was all finished! In fact the two prisoners were on a normal visit that same day with their family's without a care in the world, just doing their time. That was until 4.15pm when the guards turned up at the cell with everyone inside thinking it was going to be a cell search, can you imagine the horror when they realised what was going on ... all of the prisoners in that cell have a Death sentence.
The story from others sharing the same cell is that the two prisoners gave away all of their things and said goodbye. No shouting, no crying, just saying "take it easy lads, see you the other side".
The rest of the story you won't have to take anyone's word for - it was filmed for TV! They were taken and told to write a farewell letter to family, the prisoner's hands were now seen to be shaking. Both were 'case partners' in their forties and sentenced for having 140,000 Yabba pills, they had served eight years of their sentences and their applications for a King's Pardon had been turned down. Another hundred and thirty prisoners are now in the same boat and will all be waiting for the sound of the guard's boots each day at 4.15pm. If they don't come they get to live another day. Their only hope is if the King gives an Amnesty to sentences before their number is up, the next one can happen in April 2010 and if it happens it is possible that their sentences will be reduced to Life imprisonment ... until then 4.15pm everyday will be a living nightmare for them.
It was unlucky for these two that their number was up, without warning, after six years without any executions. After writing their letters they were asked what they would like to eat and surprise, surprise they were not hungry! There were about fifty guards with the film crews and Government 'top brass' all around them along with a Monk saying prayers, what must have been going through their heads at this time. There are no last minute appeals in Thailand, they were going to be put to death and that was it. They both say goodbye and hug with the first one being taken away to his death. There is no point in me going into detail, it's a lethal injection and you don't wake up. After about twenty minutes it is the second one's turn and off he goes, there are no tears, no struggle and no handcuffs - it's just as though he's going to the doctors.
When it is all finished everyone can be seen shaking hands and patting each other on the back - job well done!
At the back of the prison, built into the wall, is a big red iron door known as the 'Ghost Door'. The next day school children are bussed in with film crews to watch the bodies being released to the families via the 'Ghost Door. As I have said it's been six years since they last used it and whilst on live TV, with the children and families all waiting, the guard comes marching up to it and tries to unlock it but can't - its rusted up! He can't believe his luck, his big moment on TV and the door is stuck! He goes off for some WD40 and returns, the door opens and the bodies are released with the families carrying them to waiting trucks.
The families are a mess, remember they had only visited the day before not knowing what was about to happen. Thats how executions are carried out in Thailand - no notice, no tears and no farewell to the family.
I was sentenced to Death but because I admitted my guilt my sentence was cut to thirty years. So think about this before you get involved with drugs in Thailand.
Executions are back on the menu at Bangkwang Prison - don't become the main course!
Copyright Scott Hurford 2009 - All Rights Reserved