Wed, Apr 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT asks prosecutors to appeal Sunflower rulings

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged prosecutors to appeal two court rulings that acquitted some Sunflower movement members who stormed the Legislative Yuan and Executive Yuan buildings in 2014, to help restore the public’s faith in the justice system.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said that the verdicts have raised questions on whether the judges made the decisions because they were afraid of convicting “criminals” who have been painted “heroes” by the media.

“Taiwan is a nation ruled by law and it has taken great pride in it. However, the court’s decision to acquit defendants in the March 18 case under the pretext of civil disobedience is not only unconstitutional, but also ran counter to the principles that a court ruling should be free of undue interference,” Hung said at a news conference in Taipei.

Hung was referring to the Taipei District Court’s decision on March 31 to acquit 22 defendants who broke into the Legislative Yuan on the night of March 18, 2014, based on the principle of “civil disobedience.”

Hung said as the term “civil disobedience” is nowhere to be found in the nation’s legal code, using it to absolve Sunflower movement participants from guilt risks undermining judicial credibility.

The ruling was followed by another verdict handed down by the district court on Monday that acquitted 10 of the 21 Sunflower members who stormed the Executive Yuan on March 23 that year, including Dennis Wei (魏揚).

However, eight defendants were found guilty of obstructing official business and three others were found guilty of damaging public property.

Monday’s verdict left the public puzzled about judicial review standards, as some defendants were found guilty while others were not, Hung said.

“It might not only prompt more people to follow suit and occupy government buildings, but also encourage them to do whatever it takes to become famous if they want to be acquitted of their crimes in the future,” Hung said.

Urging President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to respect the principle of separation of powers, Hung said the KMT hoped the prosecutors would appeal the rulings to restore the public’s faith in the judicial system.

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