Minister of Justice to be subpoenaed

CASTING DOUBTS::An official said there could be irregularities concerning the execution of Liu Yen-kuo, who he said may have been wrongfully convicted

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Sun, May 04, 2014 - Page 1

Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) is to be subpoenaed to the Control Yuan for questioning over the execution of a death-row inmate as Control Yuan member Lee Ful-dien (李復甸) said that the execution may have been carried out in violation of due process.

Lee said yesterday that he would establish a case about the execution of Liu Yen-kuo (劉炎國) to investigate possible irregularities involved in steps that ended up depriving him of the right to have his case go to the Supreme Court for a retrial.

Luo and Acting State Prosecutor-General Lin Jie-der (林偕得), chief prosecutor of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, will have to come under investigation over the case, Lee said.

“There could be irregularities surrounding the execution because the appellate process appears to have not been completed before Liu was put to death,” Lee said.

Liu was among five death-row inmates executed on Tuesday, the fifth series of executions since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in May 2008, which brought the number of prisoners executed to 26 after Taiwan had observed a de facto moratorium on executions between late 2005 and April 2010.

Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), Liu’s lawyer, has said that Liu could have been wrongfully convicted of the murder of a woman in a casino robbery he and Wu Lee-jen (吳李仁) committed in 1997 in Greater Taichung, although Liu admitted that he shot dead a man in the same case.

The latest request for an extraordinary appeal for Liu’s retrial was filed at 4pm on Tuesday after Chiu visited Liu at about noon that day to discuss details of the request, Chiu said.

Chiu said that they pinned hope on incoming state prosecutor-general Yen Da-ho (顏大和), whose appointment was recently confirmed by the legislature to lead the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, that Yen might be willing to consider Liu’s request and that is why he went to visit Liu right after the confirmation.

Saying that he was surprised to learn at about 6:30pm on Tuesday that Liu had been executed, Chiu cast doubt on the legitimacy of the execution and questioned why he was put to death before the Ministry of Justice received the document from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office informing the ministry of its ruling on Liu’s request.

Chiu said that he received a copy of the rebuttal statement from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday morning and the letter was postmarked 7pm on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Justice had rejected Chiu’s claim and said that the ministry received the rebuttal statement from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office at 5pm on Tuesday.

According to Chiu, the appellate process was only considered to be completed when the original rebuttal statement was delivered to Liu.

“It was a seven-page rebuttal statement. How could the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office review the request, put out the rebuttal statement and deliver it to Taichung Prison within one hour?” Chiu said.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Association for Innocence said that carrying out the execution before Yen’s inauguration on Thursday not only deprived the prisoners of their right to appeal for a retrial of their case under the new leadership of Yen, but also infringed Yen’s right to reconsider the cases.