Father pleads for transfer of son imprisoned in China
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The father of a Taiwanese national who is serving a prison term in China called yesterday for the government to facilitate the repatriation of his son as soon as possible.
August 20, 2013, 2:13 pm TWN
His plea came after a cross-border prisoner transfer bill took effect last month.
Speaking to the press in Taipei, Lee, 78, said that his son has been serving out a life sentence since being convicted of smuggling in 2008.
Lee has traveled to China 13 times to visit his son at a Fujian province prison. After the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act (跨國移交受刑人法) took effect in July, Lee had hoped his son could be transferred back to Taiwan to serve out his term.
The application process to have convicted felons transferred was “extremely complicated and tedious,” Lee said, and he is yet to receive a response from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) two weeks after filing the paperwork.
In response, Yu Shiu-duan (俞秀端), deputy director-general of the MOJ's Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs, asked Lee to be more patient, saying that it could take three to five years for a prisoner to return to his or her home country to serve out their sentence.
The act stipulates that a transfer can only be carried out under various conditions, including that the sentenced person, the Taiwanese authorities and the authorities of the foreign country concerned all give their consent, Yu said.
The MOJ will continue to work with Chinese authorities to have Lee's son sent back to Taiwan in a timely manner, she added.
Under the act, a Taiwanese national sentenced abroad who is serving a prison term with more than a year left is eligible to serve out the sentence in Taiwan. The law also applies to foreign prisoners in Taiwan.
1,500 Taiwanese Jailed in China
According to the MOJ, more than 1,500 Taiwanese nationals are currently serving prison terms in China.
Another 100 are imprisoned in Vietnam and 90 in Thailand.
As of last October, there were 581 foreign prisoners in Taiwanese jails, the MOJ said.