Sunflower movement plaintiffs yesterday said that they would appeal a ruling that acquitted former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and two top police officials of attempted murder and excessive use of force in evicting protesters occupying the Executive Yuan on March 23 and 24, 2014.
The plaintiffs and their defense lawyers were critical of the Taipei District Court’s ruling on Monday, which acquitted the defendants of all charges.
Attorneys from the Judicial Reform Foundation said that they were disappointed by the ruling, as no upper-echelon police officers or government officials have been convicted, even though suits have been filed by protesters who were injured and the family of a man who died as a result of his injuries.
Former Taiwan Solidarity Union legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安), who was injured when police officers evicted the protesters and who was one of the plaintiffs, said that she and other victims are still waiting for justice six years on.
Chou said she was there to protect the protesters as a sitting legislator, but was brutally assaulted by police wielding truncheons and shields.
She and 40 injured protesters filed eight lawsuits against Ma, Jiang, then-National Police Agency director-general Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and then-Zhongzheng First Police Precinct chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧).
Chou said that she received serious injuries to her face and body, was hospitalized for one week and needed three months to recover.
Protester Chou Jung-tsung (周榮宗), a 76-year-old grandfather, was first hit by water cannons and then beaten by police wading into the crowd, his family said.
News reports showed his bruised body and his family later confirmed that he died the following year from internal bleeding that resulted from the beating.
One of Chou Jung-tsung’s family members sued Ma, Jiang, Wang and Fang, and other injured protesters later joined the lawsuit.
The judges said that Chou Jung-tsung had previous injuries and that his lawyers had failed to prove that the defendants were responsible for his death a year after the protests.
They also said that Article 6 of the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) prohibits protests from being held at the Executive Yuan without government approval.
“After six years, I am now willing to forgive the police officers who assaulted me, since they are rank-and-file officers who were just following orders from above,” Chou Ni-an said.
“It is Ma and Jiang as top government leaders who should be held criminally liable, as they gave the order to remove the protesters and to use force if necessary,” she added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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