Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Group calls for saving innocent inmates

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty is calling on the public to join its "Life Watch" project to help save the lives of prisoners mistakenly convicted and sentenced to death by courts.

Alliance members stressed that private individuals are welcome to take part in the "Life Watch" project and to serve as long-term observers to prevent the judicial system from taking the lives of innocent people.

Citing US research, alliance members said that the courts might have arrived at an incorrect verdict in some 7 percent of cases involving the death penalty. A similar group, dubbed the "Innocence Project," is active in the US, they said.

According to a 1994 publication of the Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC), 482 Taiwanese prisoners were executed during the 1955-1992 period. Alliance members noted that according to the statistics provided by the "Innocence Project," some 34 persons might have been wrongly put to death.

The RDEC publication shows that most of the 482 executed persons were drawn from the lower-ranks of society, being unemployed or low-income workers, poorly educated, or young, first-time offenders.

The Life Watch project is co-sponsored by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Judicial Reform Foundation, the Chang Fo-chuan Center for the Study of Human Rights, Fujen University John Paul II Peace Institute and the Taipei Bar Association, alliance members added.

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