Can Daniel Sancho be sentenced to death? These are the judicial keys to the case for the murder of Colombian Edwin Arrieta in Thailand.

Neither in Spain, nor in Colombia nor in Thailand are still shocked by the crime of Edwin Arrieta in the Asian country and for which the Spaniard Daniel Sancho is accused. Given the seriousness of the facts of which Sancho is accused, the fear of many in Spain is that he could be sentenced to the worst punishment under Thai law.

The terrible details of the way in which the Colombian surgeon died on the island of Koh Phangan, in the south of the Asian country, continue to fill the front pages of the media and the messages of users in different social networks.

Sancho was brought to court on Monday and later taken to prison on a provisional basis on the neighboring island of Koh Samui.

Kuhn Anan, Sancho’s defense lawyer in Thailand, visited him this Tuesday for the first time in the prison, according to EFE news agency. According to the report, the lawyer stated that Sancho “is relaxed, he knows what he has done […] he wants to plan how to live in here”.

The police are investigating to clarify the facts.

Spanish lawyer Beatriz Uriarte, an expert in international criminal law, tells CNN that this process could take up to 60 days.

Uriarte says that once the investigation is completed, it could be half a year to a year before a trial date is set.

The death penalty in Thailand

Given the seriousness of the facts, if convicted Sancho could face the worst penalty contemplated by Thai law.

Article 288 of Thailand’s Penal Code establishes prison sentences of 15 to 20 years for the crime of murder – when there is no overkill or premeditation. While the crime of murder, detailed in Article 289, provides for the death penalty.

Uriarte comments that even in this case, Sancho would have another recourse.

“(In Thailand) when the death (penalty) is imposed on a foreign citizen, that sentence is usually commuted to a prison sentence (…) What would have to be done is to address a request for a pardon to the king (to decide whether to commute that sentence),” adds the criminal lawyer.

Serving the sentence in Spain

In the event that the death penalty is imposed, Sancho will not be able to be transferred to Spain, since there is no capital punishment in that country.

“He will only be able to come to Spain if he is sentenced to prison,” says Uriarte.

“If he is sentenced to life imprisonment, through diplomatic channels, which is the one that will initiate this procedure, Daniel can be asked to come to Spain to serve that sentence, but he will always have to serve a minimum in Thailand,” the specialist explains.

Uriarte clarifies that the eventual transfer would not imply the reduction of the sentence.

“It would be in accordance with the Spanish penal norms”, says the criminal lawyer, who considers that the permanent revisable prison would be applied, the same that in Spain is contemplated for crimes of special gravity and that would allow it to be reviewed after the sentenced person has served 25 years in prison.

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