Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Alliance announces talks on ending death penalty

NEW PERSPECTIVES Saying that the Criminal Code calls for re-educating and reforming prisoners, not killing them, the alliance seeks an end to the death penalty in Taiwan


The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty and three European offices in Taiwan will organize a series of activities early next month to encourage the abolition of the death penalty and help advance the debate on the issue.

One of the centerpiece events will be a seminar on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7 called “New Perspectives on Abolishing the Death Penalty,” organized by the alliance and the German Institute in Taipei, the alliance said on Friday.

German academics will discuss the issue from a variety of perspectives such as the relationship between the abolition of the death penalty and social safety, victim protection and prison reform.

“The objective of Taiwan’s Criminal Code is to re-educate and reform prisoners, not to kill them,” said an alliance worker, who expected that the activities would help promote human rights and encourage debate on the issue.

The worker, who only gave her surname Chiu because she only volunteers for the organization, also suggested that Taiwan should learn from Germany’s experience, where there have been considerable achievements in prisoner re-education.

The alliance said no individuals have been executed in Taiwan since 2005, but there are 31 convicts who have been sentenced to death.

One of the individuals was sentenced on the Double Ten national holiday, which is also the World Day Against the Death Penalty.

The French office will hold a conference on Nov. 3 on how Taiwan can move toward abolishing the death penalty, in partnership with National Taipei University and the Taiwan Law Society, with the support of the European Economic and Trade Office.

Two French experts, Sylvie Bukhari de Pontual, a lawyer and member of the Bar of Paris, and Michel Forst, general secretary of the French National Consultative Commission for Human Rights, will talk about the need for criminal code reform and abolition of the death penalty, and on the death penalty in the context of international law, the office said.

A film featuring Robert Badinter, senator and former French minister of justice, who is renowned for his activism in support of abolishing capital punishment in France, will also be screened at the conference.

British experts will also share their experiences with Taiwan on Nov. 13 and Nov. 14.

They will discuss how to advance the process of eliminating the death penalty in Taiwan.

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