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President vows to better protect human rights in military

2013/08/04 00:12:42

Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has taken note of the appeals of the activist group Citizen 1985 for reforms and transparency of military justice system, Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li said Saturday.

President Ma is also determined to promote reforms to better protect human rights in the military, Li said.

Citizen 1985 led a mass protest near the Presidential Office in downtown Taipei Saturday, which drew an estimated 100,000 demonstrators, calling for reforms and transparency in the wake of the death of an Army conscript earlier this month.

It was the second mass protest organized by the activist group since Corporal Hung Chung-chiu died of heatstroke on July 4, just two days before the completion of his one-year compulsory military service.

Hung was allegedly forced to do strenuous exercises in sweltering heat as a penalty for taking a smartphone onto his base.

Li said Ma is determined to respond positively and promptly to the demonstrators' calls and appeals.

Noting that the president already unveiled 13 reform proposals July 26 to upate the country's court-martial system, Li said the government will speed up execution of those measures to prevent repeat of cases similar to Hung's.

Stressing the importance of reforms to the military justice system, Ma has asked three top government organs -- the Executive Yuan, Legislation Yuan, and Judicial Yuan -- to begin discussions and conduct a joint study on the reform of military law.

He has also asked relevant authorities to study the practices followed in the United States, Britain, Japan, and Singapore before arriving at a decision with regard to the mechanisms of solitary confinement, self-reflection and correction in the military.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Sofia Wu)
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