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Public has reservations over death row pardons: premier

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Wu Den-yih said yesterday that Taiwan's society would have great reservations over a general pardon that would commute the death sentences of convicts who have yet to show remorse for their behavior.

The premier was responding to questions at a legislative hearing on whether President Ma Ying-jeou might declare a general pardon next year when the Republic of China celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Legislator John Chiang of the ruling Kuomintang also asked if convicts on death row would be included in such a plan.

Wu answered that neither President Ma nor an organizing committee preparing the centennial anniversary celebration had discussed the idea with him to date.

Granting special pardons or a general amnesty is a presidential power enshrined in the Constitution, Wu said, one that he has never contemplated.

But he said that while he personally believes it would be plausible to pardon minor offenders, the public would have reservations about pardoning major offenders.

“I think society would be better able to accept commuting the sentences of those who have committed only minor offenses and not serious crimes,” the premier said.

“As for those who have committed heinous crimes or who have never shown a twinge of remorse, society will have great reservations about pardoning them,” he added.

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