Taiwan shrugs off execution condemnation
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan yesterday shrugged off condemnation from the European Parliament and human rights activists over its execution of six death-row inmates Friday, with Premier Jiang Yi-huah saying the executions were in line with the public's expectations.
April 21, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
Jiang said he supports the Justice Ministry in carrying out executions that meet public expectations when there are no ways to overturn the convictions of those who have committed serious crimes.
He said some people may wish to see Taiwan follow the examples of some European countries and abolish the death penalty, but the majority of the people in Taiwan clearly support the idea of keeping capital punishment for serious crimes.
On Friday, Taiwan executed six death-row inmates, each of whom had been convicted of multiple murders. Taiwan executed another six last December.
The latest executions sparked an outcry from Barbara Lochbihler, chair of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights, and from Amnesty International.
Lochbihler, condemning the executions, demanded that Taiwan immediately abolish the death penalty.
Catherine Baber, who heads Amnesty International's program in the Asia-Pacific area, said they doubt whether Taiwan will honor its promise to abolish capital punishment in the wake of its recent string of executions.
She urged President Ma Ying-jeou to immediately suspend any executions and arrange for a nationwide debate on the death penalty.
According to CNA, in early April Amnesty International released a report on the practice of death penalty around the world, showing that Taiwan ranked fifth in Asia in terms of executing its death-row inmates. The report said Taiwan had around 50 inmates awaiting execution.
In response to Lochbihler's condemnation, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said the government must first achieve a consensus in the public before it can gradually work toward limiting the use of capital punishment.
The ministry's spokeswoman Anna Kao said Taiwan is eager to protect human rights, and has been very cautious in meting out the death penalty.