Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Lin Feng-cheng (林峰正) and lawyers representing Chiou Ho-shun (邱和順), who was sentenced to death late last month for murder, said they would seek an extraordinary appeal and request a retrial.
The Supreme Court ignored the fact that police used torture to extract the confessions used to convict Chiou to end the longest-running legal battle in history, judicial reform advocates and lawyers told a press conference yesterday.
The court ruled on July 28 that Chiou, who has been detained for most of his adult life, received a fair trial and deserved to die for the 1987 slaying of Lu Cheng (陸正), a boy that prosecutors said he kidnapped, dismembered and then threw in the ocean after a botched kidnapping. The ruling brought an end to a 24-year-long case.
Chiou was also found guilty and was sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of Ko Hung Yu-lan (柯洪玉蘭), an insurance agent.
Sam Zarifi, director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific program, sent a letter to Prosecutor-General Huang Shi-ming (黃世銘) on Wednesday, urging authorities to halt the execution of Chiou and order a retrial with fair proceedings in line with international standards.
To prove that Chiou had been tortured, the activists played audio recordings at the press conference of two policemen talking about the torture and showed video clips of Chiou wearing only underwear.
“The material was disclosed to the public now for the first time, because the foundation did not want to offend the victim’s family in the past,” Lin said.
The law states that forced confessions extracted through torture cannot be used as evidence to convict defendants, nor should they be the sole source of evidence for a legal judgement, Lin said.
There is enough evidence in both cases to prove Chiou’s innocence, lawyer Yu Poh-hsiang (尤伯祥) said. Two prosecutors and 10 police officers involved in Lu’s case were impeached by the Control Yuan in 1994 for using violence and threats to acquire speedy confessions, which were still accepted as evidence, Yu said.
Chiou had a car rental document on the day the kidnapping took place as an alibi, Yu said.
“Aren’t you hurt if your family was tortured? I will never give up on this case,” Yu said.
The flaw in both prosecutions was that Lu Cheng’s body and Ko’s skull and limbs were never found, which “should not have been the case if all defendants had admitted guilt because they should know where the bodies are,” lawyer Stephen Lee (李勝雄) said.
“My brother feels helpless that the judges refused to accept evidence submitted to the court which favors the defendants,” said Chiou Ruei-te (邱瑞得), Chiou’s elder brother.
Lu Cheng’s father, Lu Chin-te (陸晉德), said there was enough evidence to prove Chiou was guilty.