A military court yesterday acquitted Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶), who was executed for the rape and murder of a girl 15 years ago, in a posthumous trial.
Chiang was executed in 1997 after being convicted of sexually abusing and murdering a five-year-old girl.
The Military Northern District Court yesterday morning handed down the ruling after the Military Supreme Court Prosecutors’ Office filed an extraordinary appeal with the Military Supreme Court in May last year to reopen the case.
The Military Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s legal action followed findings by the Control Yuan that Chiang had been tortured by military investigators.
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it was the final verdict and it would help Chiang’s family apply for national compensation.
The ministry said the court ruled that Chiang’s statements were made against his will and that the blood-soaked toilet paper and knife used as evidence against Chiang were re-examined by forensic experts, who concluded that they could not prove Chiang’s involvement in the murder.
Shen Shih-wei (沈世偉), an official with the ministry’s Judicial Department, visited Chiang’s mother Wang Tsai-lien (王彩蓮) at her apartment yesterday afternoon and delivered a copy of the ruling.
Wang’s attorney Greg Yo (尤伯祥) and two other attorneys were in the court to hear the ruling.
Yo said Chiang’s family is expected to receive about NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) in compensation.
Yo, who also represented the Judicial Reform Foundation, called on Taipei district prosecutors to quickly complete an investigation into the role and responsibility of former minister of national defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) and other military officers in the wrongful execution.
Yo said Chen was the mastermind behind the botched investigation of Chiang’s case.
In an interview in the morning, Wang said: “I will bring the acquittal ruling to my son and my husband’s shrines.”
She added she would not forgive those military officials responsible and wanted to see the verdicts against former air force counterintelligence official Ko Chung-ching (柯仲慶) and others.
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division concluded on May 24 that Chiang, who was serving in the air force command in 1996 at the time of the murder, was not guilty of the crime.
Chiang was executed at the age of 21.
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office has since charged a new suspect, Hsu Jung-chou (許榮洲), with the girl’s murder.
Prosecutors said Chiang was tortured during questioning, including exposure to strong lights and being forced to watch a video of the girl’s autopsy. He was also threatened with an electric prod and deprived of sleep while being forced to undergo strenuous physical activities.
Prosecutors said Hsu left bloody palm prints at the scene of the crime, which a DNA test confirmed were his.
Hsu’s case is pending in the Taipei District Court.