16 foreign inmates to be sent home
The Department of Corrections plans to transfer 16 foreign prisoners back to their home countries to serve out their sentences in a bid to ease chronic overcrowding in Thai prisons.
Pol Col Naras Savestanan, director-general of the department, said a panel had approved the transfer requests from the inmates.
The inmates comprised 10 Iranian nationals, 1 Belgian, 1 Swiss, 1 Dutch, 1 Japanese, 1 Lao, and 1 Briton, he said.
The panel was chaired by Witthaya Suriyawong, deputy permanent secretary for justice.
Pol Col Naras said in exchange for the transfer of the 16 foreign inmates, the department will receive 17 Thai inmates who are currently serving prison sentences abroad.
He said the transfer of the inmates was agreed based on whether the recipient country was a consenting member of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons treaty.
Other conditions included whether a judgement and sentence of each prisoner's case was already finalised, if the prisoner had already served more than one third of the imposed sentence, and whether the prisoner qualified for a transfer in accordance with the Legislation Procedure for Cooperation between States in the Execution of Penal Sentences Act BE 2527.
Pol Col Naras added that in Thailand, international transfers of inmates following this protocol first took place in 1990 when France signed the bilateral prisoner transfer treaty.
Since the inception of the procedure, Thailand has transferred 1,082 foreign inmates back to serve their remaining sentences in their home countries, Pol Col Naras said.
"International transfers enable inmates to go back and serve remaining time in their home countries. This allows prisoners to be closer to their families and relatives, and in a known environment, which allows them to rehabilitate," he said.
Presently, Thailand has 37 bilateral prisoner transfer treaties in force with countries across the world such as France, Spain, Canada, Italy, the US, Britain, Sweden and Germany.