Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Executions to continue despite criticism

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Justice said it will continue carrying out capital punishment lawfully and with discretion in spite of Amnesty International (AI) renewing its call for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

Taiwan executed six inmates convicted of violent crimes in April last year.

Fifty-two remain on death row, though there is reportedly no timetable for carrying out their sentences.

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said their sentences will be carried out with prudence and under the country’s existing laws once the ministry has made sure they have not petitioned for a constitutional interpretation or made an extraordinary appeal for retrial.

Defending Taiwan’s treatment of death row inmates, he rejected comparisons with other countries because of “differences in laws and public sentiment” toward serious crimes.

He also said that families of the inmates are allowed to visit at any time — though he did not directly address AI’s criticism of a policy that informs families of an execution only after it has been carried out.

In its report on death sentences and executions last year, released on Wednesday, London-based AI criticized Taiwan for the six executions last year and the passing of seven more death sentences, despite the country’s promise to take steps toward the elimination of the death penalty.

Chiara Sangiorgio, a campaigner against capital punishment, further accused Taiwan of carrying out its death penalty in a way that does not conform to international laws because of a lack of transparency, including keeping the date of execution from family members.

The government should inform inmates’ families before the execution, she said, and notify lawyers, as well as the public, of the proceedings.

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