Back to list

Tsai apologies to political victims after convictions rescinded

2018/10/05 19:40:05

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, back, right)

Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) issued an apology Friday to Taiwan's political victims from the second half of the 20th century, and declared 1,270 of them "in fact, not guilty" after the Transitional Justice Commission decided to clear their names.

"Taiwan suffered a long period of darkness before its democratization, and many people have been tortured or even lost their lives for unknown reasons during that time," Tsai said at a public ceremony held by the commission to "atone for unlawful justice" and "rescind the wrongful convictions of related people."

The event was held at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel -- located on the former site of a detention center under the now-defunct Taiwan Garrison Command.

The command was a public security agency responsible for suppressing activities viewed as promoting democracy and Taiwan independence under authoritarian rule during the martial law period from 1949 to 1987. It was disbanded on Aug. 1, 1992.

"Compensation has been given and certificates restoring (victims') reputations were handed down to their family members, but there was no way to retract the wrongful sentences of the past," Tsai said, thanking the commission for its decision to clear the political victims of their guilty verdicts.

"All of the political victims have spent their whole life waiting for such a day to come, but unfortunately many of them could not," she said.

Tsai said she wanted to say "sorry" to their families on behalf of the government because "we have kept you waiting too long." "But it is better late than never," she said.

The decision to rescind the convictions of the first batch of political victims has laid a solid foundation for the government to continue to pursue transitional justice, said commission Chairman Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄).

In the coming six months, the commission will continue to work to clear the names of roughly 10,000 political victims and rescind their sentences.

The Executive Yuan established the commission on May 31, 2018 to investigate actions taken by the Kuomintang between the dates of Aug. 15, 1945 and Nov. 6, 1992, and to implement transitional justice measures set forth under the law so as to rebuild the historical truth and promote social reconciliation.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Flor Wang)