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Four death row inmates executed: MOJ

2010/04/30 22:57:15

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Taiwan executed four death row inmatesFriday, the first time the death penalty had been carried out in thecountry since December 2005.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) confirmed Friday evening that fourdeath row convicts, identified as Chang Chun-hung, Hung Chen-yao, KoShih-ming and Chang Wen-wei, were executed earlier in the day, twodays after Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu signed the warrants for theexecutions, the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan last executed death row convicts in December 2005. Thelack of executions since then drew attention earlier this year whenformer Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng insisted on promoting theabolition of capital punishment and refused to sign death warrants.

Wang was later forced to resign March 11 amid a public outcry ofvictims of violent crimes and their families.

When Tseng assumed office March 22, he made it clear that whileabolishing the death penalty is an ultimate goal, he would abide bythe rule of law in dealing with issues regarding death row convicts.

Following Friday's executions, Taiwan still has 40 individuals ondeath row.

Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said that sinceTaiwan is a country that upholds the rule of law, it must deal withdeath row convicts according to existing law, unless there arereasons prescribed in the law that justify suspending the execution.

Acknowledging that scrapping the death penalty is a mainstreamtrend in a majority of countries around the world, Lo said localresidents remain highly divided on the issue.

Because there is still no consensus on capital punishment inTaiwan, more rational discussion is needed before a final decisioncan be reached, he said.

In the interim, the government will study the feasibility ofextending prison terms for certain kinds of felonies, raisingthresholds for parole of those who have been given life sentences andtightening procedures for meting out the death peanlty.

The government will also seek to cut back the use of capitalpunishment through legal amendments, Lo added.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Sofia Wu)