Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) on Wednesday denied that his ministry was holding off the execution of prisoners on death row, saying it was only being cautious.
“We have not said we will not carry out the executions,” Chiu said. “We just want to be prudent in our implementation.”
Allegations that the ministry is dragging its feet on executions are not true, Chiu said after reporters asked whether the government planned to carry out the sentences for prisoners on death row.
The issue arose after the Taiwan High Court earlier on Wednesday commuted a death sentence to life imprisonment in a case of robbery and murder.
The 31-year-old defendant, Hsieh Yi-han (謝依涵), was sentenced to death by the Shilin District Court in Taipei in October 2013 and the verdict was upheld in September 2014 by the Taiwan High Court.
However, the Supreme Court in February 2015 overturned the death sentence and remanded the case to the Taiwan High Court for review.
Hsieh was convicted of killing Shih Chien University assistant professor Chang Tsui-ping (張翠萍), 58, and her husband, Chen Chin-fu (陳進福), 79, then dumping their bodies in the Tamsui River (淡水河) in Taipei in February 2013.
The High Court’s ruling on Wednesday sparked outrage in some sectors of society.
Surveys have repeatedly shown that Taiwanese overwhelmingly favor retaining the death penalty.
Before taking office in May last year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that it would require social consensus, as well as comprehensive support and transition measures, to decide whether Taiwan should scrap or keep the death penalty.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
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