Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Compensation cap could be lifted

Staff Writer, with CNA

Lawmakers yesterday proposed that a cap on the level of compensation given to the families of people who have been wrongfully executed should be removed.

Legislators from the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee preliminarily passed a draft amendment to the law governing compensation for miscarriages of justice, stipulating that the cash compensation provided to the families of people who have been wrongfully executed should be unlimited.

Lawmakers from across party lines also proposed that calculating the compensation should be raised to NT$5,000 per day from between NT$1,000 and NT$3,000 per day for the total life expectancy of the executed person.

The legislators proposed the amendment after the reopening of an investigation late last year into the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in 1996 that led to the wrongful execution of an air force private.

Taipei prosecutors decided last year that Chiang Kuo-ching’s (江國慶) conviction in 1996 was the result of a coerced confession, following which he was executed at the age of 21.

The Military Supreme Court Prosecutors’ Office filed an extraordinary appeal with the Supreme Court in May last year to reopen the case in the wake of Control Yuan findings that Chiang was tortured into confessing by military investigators who were under pressure to solve the case.

The torture included aiming strong lights at Chiang during marathon interrogation sessions and forcing him to watch a videotape showing how the girl’s body was dissected during an autopsy, prosecutors said. Once in court, however, Chiang withdrew his confession and pleaded not guilty. He was convicted nonetheless and executed in August 1997, less than a year after the crime took place.

The lawmakers proposed the draft amendment before reaching a consensus with the Judicial Yuan to raise the daily compensation and remove the compensation cap. Currently, the upper limit on compensation is NT$30 million (US$1 million).

If the amendment is passed, Chiang’s family could be compensated more than NT$100 million, based on Chiang’s age of 21 when he was executed in 1997 and on the average life expectancy for Taiwanese males, which stood at 76 in the year he was killed, the legislators said.

Also yesterday, the defense ministry’s District Military Court Prosecutors’ Office in Northern Taiwan decided to open a fresh investigation into the case, saying that there was new evidence showing that the execution was wrongful.

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