Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Hung urges Tsai to declare death penalty stance

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday called on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to declare her stance on whether the death penalty should be abolished after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) proposed amending the law to prevent the Ministry of Justice from delaying the execution of death-row inmates.

Responding to recent controversy over the death penalty, Tsai on Monday said that the abolition of capital punishment would require social consensus and comprehensive supporting measures.

When asked by a reporter to comment on the remarks, Hung, the sole runner in the KMT presidential primary, pressed Tsai for a clear “yes or no” answer to the question of whether capital punishment should be abolished.

“They are two different issues,” Hung said.

“We are just asking whether she supports abolition ‘now.’ Has she felt society’s indignation [over the slaying of an eight-year-old girl]? Has she felt the grief of the victim’s family?” she said.

Separately yesterday, Wu held a press conference to announce that he is to propose amending the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), which he said is currently plagued with “loopholes” that allow the ministry to delay the carrying out of executions.

Article 461 of the code stipulates that capital punishment must be approved by the Ministry of Justice and be carried out within three days of receiving such approval, but “the executive prosecutor may contact the highest judicial authority for a review in three days if causes for a retrial or extraordinary appeal exist.”

Wu said that there are 48 death-row inmates in the nation, with one of them having been sentenced to death 14 years ago. He added that only 13 of the 48 qualify for a suspension of capital punishment, which requires either insanity or pregnancy, or have filed for an extraordinary appeal, a retrial or a Grand Justice interpretation.

Wu claimed that the article is incomplete, as it does not require the judiciary to elucidate the subsequent proceedings after the “review,” stressing that he is to propose a restriction at the end of the article that states: “[The review] must not be done except for obvious reasons.”

“If the executions [that should have been carried out] fail to be carried out, the government should apologize to the people of this country,” he said.

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