Fri, Jan 13, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Ministry says not holding off execution of inmates

SLOW AND STEADY:Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san said they only want to be prudent when carrying out the sentences for prisoners on death row

Staff writer, with CNA

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.

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