Senate appeal for Italian condemned to death in Thailand

ROME – The Italian Senate was leading an appeal to the government of Thailand to prevent the execution of Denis Cavatassi, an Italian national accused in 2011 of hiring a killer to murder his business partner, Luciano Butti, in Phuket.  

 Sig Cavatassi was convicted and sentenced to death in Thailand but has always maintained his innocence and is appealing to the Thai supreme court (cq).

 A press conference was called on Tuesday, headed by Senator Luigi Manconi, President of the Commission for the Protection of Human Rights, to call for his sentence to be annulled, alongside Cavatassi’s family, legal team and the head of Amnesty International in Italy.

 Butti and Cavatassi managed a restaurant together on the island of Phi Phi. The latter was arrested in 2011 alongside three others but released soon afterwards on caution. The family have always argued that the accused could have fled the country at this point.

 He was arrested again following allegations from a Thai manager at his restaurant that he had boasted of large sums of money owed between the two partners. Cavatassi maintains that he has never received a fair trial.

 The court alleged that Cavatassi paid 3,500 euros to have his partner dispatched while Butti was in Phuket for divorce proceedings. The hitman himself remains at large.

 Campaign groups such as Amnesty International have long campaigned for the death penalty to be abolished in Thailand and estimate that around 450 convicts are on death row in the country. However, Thai authorities have been observing a de facto moratorium on the penalty since 2009, when the last prisoner was executed.

 Editor's note: This corrects our original story which erroneously said Sig. Cavatassi had lost his appeal in the Thai Supreme Court. In actual fact his case is still being heard in the Supreme Court of Thailand.