Nevertheless, in deliberating how much compensation they should be given, the court did not make any mention of the psychological trauma that the trio must have suffered from constantly facing the prospect of death. The court judgement completely ignores the torment the trio were subjected to as they hovered between life and death for years on end.
Courts can make mistakes — that should be something that not only judicial officials, but everyone in Taiwan can agree on. When the state has wrongfully convicted and imprisoned people, in addition to exonerating and releasing them, the least the public can expect is that the state will award them fair and reasonable monetary compensation in accordance with the law.
However, the reality in Taiwan is that the state always expects people to be a bit more forbearing and not to expect that it will make things easy for the public.
The campaign to exonerate the Hsichih Trio, save them from execution and free them from jail has been the most prominent case of wrongful conviction in Taiwan over the past 20 years and now it is being forced to again take center stage in the theater of judicial reform.
Lo Shih-hsiang is chief executive officer of the Taiwan Association for Innocence.
Translated by Julian Clegg