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EU disappointed over execution of death row inmate in Taiwan

2018/10/19 17:32:46

Madeleine Majorenko, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) / CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) The European Union (EU) was "very disappointed" over the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration's execution of a death row inmate in late August and rejects its logic that the death penalty was carried out because capital punishment has yet to be abolished in Taiwan, the top EU envoy to Taiwan said Friday.

Lee Hung-chi (李宏基), 39, who was convicted of murder in 2014, was executed in Kaohsiung on Aug. 31. It was the first execution since President Tsai took office on May 20, 2016.

Asked to comment on the execution, Madeleine Majorenko, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), the EU's representative office in Taiwan, told reporters that it came as a surprise and people in the EU were "very disappointed" over the move.

Majorenko said she talked with Taiwan officials after the execution and was told that the sentence was carried out because "we have that (death penalty) in our law, we must obey the law, which means we must execute somebody."

"We don't accept that logic. Just because it says in the law that you can execute somebody because it's on your statute book, that doesn't mean we believe you have to do it," she noted.

She said she was also told that it is still the long-term objective of the government to abolish the death penalty. "But they don't feel the time is now (to abolish death penalty)," Majorenko said.

The EU representative said she understands that opinion polls in Taiwan show over 80 percent support for capital punishment.

However, she pointed out that her office commissioned a survey undertaken by Taiwan's top research institute Academia Sinica several years ago, the results of which showed that if one offers an alternative to the death penalty, support to abolish capital punishment increases to around 50 percent.

The EETO head said the execution will not affect the possible signing of a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with Taiwan when asked to comment if the two are connected.

"I think I can safely say it will not affect the progress of our discussions on the agreement."

She noted that there is a "huge element of disappointment" in Brussels at the execution, but added "it's not our way of engaging with partners to hold one thing hostage in order to deal with another issue."

However, she also said no recent progress has been made in bilateral BIA talks.

(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW