The transfer of military prison inmates to 11 civilian prisons around the nation will begin this week, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday, with 243 prisoners scheduled to be moved today.
The transfers follow an amendment to the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法), passed by the legislature on Tuesday last week and promulgated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday.
Under the amendment, military personnel facing trial during peacetime will be prosecuted in civilian courts, starting today.
Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tung (陳明堂) said there are 307 military personnel serving time in the military prison in Greater Tainan’s Lioujia District (六甲).
The military police will be responsible for the transfers and 72 sets of handcuffs have been borrowed from Tainan Prison and the Tainan Detention Center for use during the transfers, he said.
The remaining military prisoners will be transferred to civilian prisons after the second stage of the overhaul of the military’s court martial system begins in five months, Chen said.
According to a Ministry of National Defense official familiar with the transfer plans, the inmates to be transferred today include three two-star generals, two one-star generals and Navy Captain Kuo Li-heng (郭力恆), who was jailed in connection with the Lafayette frigate kickback scandal in the 1990s.
To ensure the smooth transfer of such a large number of prisoners, the details are being kept confidential, the official said, but the moves should start early in the morning and be completed by this afternoon.
It will not be the first time the military has had to transfer a large number of prisoners, the official said, referring to the hundreds of prisoners who were moved to the Tainan facility in 2005, when the Sindian Military Prison was closed.