Sat, Oct 20, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Rationale for execution unacceptable: European office

‘DISAPPOINTMENT’:Office Director Madeleine Majorenko said that the government should lead a discussion to abolish the death penalty, rather than citing opinion polls

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The EU did not find President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration’s rationale for executing a death-row inmate in late August acceptable, with the move a surprise and a huge disappointment, European Economic and Trade Office Director Madeleine Majorenko said yesterday.

Majorenko made the remarks in Taipei in response to media queries over whether the Aug. 31 execution of Lee Hung-chi (李宏基), who on April 16, 2014, stabbed his ex-wife and youngest daughter to death outside a kindergarten before attempting to kill his eldest daughter, could affect the potential signing of a bilateral investment agreement.

The execution was the first in Taiwan since Tsai took office in May 2016, ending a two-year-and-three-month hiatus.

There was a “huge element of disappointment in Brussel at the execution, especially since we have had more than two years of moratorium ... but it is not our way of engaging with the partner to hold one thing hostage in order to deal with another issue,” Majorenko said, adding that the EU would nevertheless want to discuss with the Tsai administration its intentions for the death penalty.

The reason the administration gave for the execution was that the death penalty is still part of the law.

“We do not accept that logic. Just because it says in the law that you can execute somebody ... does not mean we believe you have to do it,” she said.

The government has reassured the office that the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) goal to abolish capital punishment remains in place, Majorenko said.

However, the DPP “does not feel the time is now,” she said.

Majorenko said the government should lead a discussion to abolish the death penalty, rather than citing opinion polls, which show that 80 to 85 percent of Taiwanese favor retaining capital punishment.

She said the numbers could change if the public is presented with a more sophisticated question, as evidenced by an opinion poll that her office conducted through the Academia Sinica a few years ago, which asked respondents: “If there are alternatives to the death penalty, would you be willing to consider those alternatives?”

“Suddenly, you are down to numbers like 50 percent or 55 percent who think yes, if there are alternatives, we should consider them instead of the death penalty,” she said. “I think this is an important message.”

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