Thu, Aug 28, 2014 - Page 3 News List

New appeal bid for longest serving death row inmate

LEGAL QUAGMIRE:Chiou Ho-shun has spent more than two decades on death row. A recent Control Yuan report has prompted his lawyers to file a new appeal

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Dancers from the Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute perform outside the Supreme Court in Taipei yesterday during a news conference organized by the Judicial Reform Foundation. The dance was about death row inmate Chiou Ho-shun being tortured into confessing to involvement in two homicides in 1987.

Photo: Chien Li-chung, Taipei Times

Human rights and judicial reform advocates yesterday filed an extraordinary appeal for death row inmate Chiou Ho-shun (邱和順), who has been imprisoned for nearly 23 years after he was sentenced to death for two homicides in 1987.

They said the evidence against Chiou was questionable and Control Yuan investigations have found that he was tortured into confessing to the murders of a nine-year-old boy and an insurance agent.

As members of the Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute performed a piece outside the Supreme Court in Taipei about Chiou being tortured into confessing, rights advocates and attorneys filed an extraordinary appeal to Prosecutor-General Yen Ta-ho (顏大和).

They called on Yen to approve a new court review of Chiou’s case.

“We have filed numerous extraordinary appeals in the past years, but all were rejected by former prosecutor-general Huang Shi-ming (黃世銘),” Yu Po-hsiang (尤伯祥), one of Chiou’s attorneys, told reporters outside the courthouse. “We are filing a renewed extraordinary appeal today because an investigation report released by the Control Yuan last month found that there was torture behind Chiou’s confession. So we hope the new prosecutor-general will take a careful look at the case.”

Wellington Koo (顧立雄), another of Chiou’s attorneys, said that 10 police officers and two prosecutors were impeached by the Control Yuan or found guilty of “threatening and forcing Chiou into confession,” so it is clear that Chiou was tortured.

Yen should approve the appeal for a re-examination of the case, Koo said.

Wu Ching-chin (吳景欽), an associate law professor at Aletheia University, said that he has assigned the Chiou case to his students — without using Chiou’s name — and asked them to deliver a verdict, but “none rule that he is guilty because there is not sufficient evidence to support such verdict.”

Chiou is the longest-serving death row prisoner in Taiwan, Wu said.

“I hope Chiou will not become the next Iwao Hakamada,” the professor said, referring to a man in Japan who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to death, but declared not guilty and released from prison in March after 48 years on death row.

“The Hakamada case was overturned because one of the judges who had sentenced him to death had believed from the beginning that he was innocent, although he had given into peer pressure to find him guilty, and in 2007 he stood up to defend Hakamada,” Wu said. “One of the saddest things about the judiciary in Taiwan is that there is no judge who is willing to challenge the defects in the system. No one has such moral courage.”

The Supreme Court ruled on July 28, 2011, that Chiou had received a fair trial from the Taiwan High Court and deserved to die for the 1987 slaying of Lu Cheng (陸正), who was kidnapped and killed, and his dismembered body was reportedly disposed of in the ocean off Hsinchu County.

Prior to that decision, the Supreme Court had refused to confirm the High Court ruling 11 times, citing flaws in the process and sending the case back to the lower court for retrial.

Chiou’s girlfriend, Wu Shu-chen (吳淑貞), and Lin Kun-ming (林坤明) were also found guilty in connection with Lu’s murder and sentenced to 10 and 17 years respectively.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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