Thursday, December 07, 2006

Amnesty and the Death Penalty in Taiwan

For many years Amnesty International has been carrying out a campaign to eliminate the death penalty, and Taiwan is one of their targets.

A recent case is that of arsonist and murderer Chong Deshu:
Chong Deshu is at risk of imminent execution. His execution order was reportedly signed by the Minister of Justice on 1 December 2006. Under standard procedure, execution should have taken place three days after the notice of final judgment from the Ministry of Justice – that is, 4 December 2006. However, the execution has not yet been carried out. It is possible that the Chong Deshu could be executed at any moment without notice.

The article gives some background information on the death penalty here:

Between 70 and 100 prisoners are believed to be held on death row in Taiwan, of whom at least 22 have had their sentences confirmed. Execution is carried out by a shot in the heart through the back or lethal injection although so far no-one has been executed by lethal injection in Taiwan. So far, no executions have been carried out in Taiwan during 2006, continuing a downward trend in the use of the death penalty since 2000. Local anti-death penalty activists had hoped that 2006 would be an "execution-free year" helping to increase momentum towards abolition. Several Taiwanese officials have indicated support for abolition of death penalty in recent years, including President Chen Shui-bian.

The Taiwanese authorities have taken some measures to reform the death penalty system over recent months: the use of shackles for those on death row has been reduced; and legal aid has been extended to death penalty prisoners. However, the government's promises to move towards abolition have yet to be fulfilled.
I've worked with Amnesty in the past, and they are truly a wonderful organization.


Anonymous said...

I thought readers might be interested in a few links:

Anonymous said...

One step at a time folks... nowadays at least people get a trial before being executed...

Anonymous said...

You may also be interested in these stories on the Asia Death Penalty blog: