Wed, Mar 09, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Bring moratorium on death penalty back: EU official

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek called on Taiwan to reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty, the third public statement from the EU condemning the execution of five prisoners on Friday.

In his official statements at the opening of this week’s Strasbourg plenary session on Monday, Buzek said he had great concerns about the resumption of the death penalty in Taiwan.

WEB SITE STATEMENT

A press release posted on the European Parliament’s Web site said Buzek criticized Friday’s executions and urged the Taiwanese authorities to reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty that was in place between 2006 and last year.

The first executions since December 2005 were carried out on April 30 last year when four prisoners were executed.

Friday’s second round of executions drew criticism from EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who issued a statement on Friday urging the government not to carry out more executions.

ANDRIKIENE

Lithuanian Member of European Parliament Laima Liucija Andrikiene, who is vice president of the parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and vice chair of the EU-Taiwan Friendship Group, had issued a statement on Saturday.

“It is highly regrettable that in the European Parliament we learn about executions in Taiwan in the context of the global trend towards abolition of death penalty as well as many promises made by Taiwanese authorities to implement de facto moratorium on executions and in the future to abolish the death penalty,” she said.

“The very fact of the executions is very unfortunate, taking into account that the European Parliament approved the granting of the visa-waiver for Taiwanese passport holders in November last year,” she said.

“Such decisions usually are based on mutual trust, shared values, commitment to democracy, respect for human rights and human dignity, so executions in Taiwan are damaging our bilateral relations,” she said.

Andrikiene said that Taiwan was violating the two UN covenants on human rights it signed in 2009, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and she urged authorities to resume a moratorium on death penalty and to take clear and concrete steps toward its eventual abolition.

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