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June 24, 2017

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Justice minister issues first order to execute 5 death row convicts

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Five convicts on death row were executed yesterday, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced last night.

This is the first time Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) has given the order to carry out death sentences since she took office in September 2013.

The MOJ said Luo signed the orders on Monday, adding that the executions were carried out at 6:30 p.m. yesterday in prisons in Taipei, Taichung (台中), Tainan (台南) and Hualien (花蓮).

Death-row inmates Teng Kuo-liang (鄧國樑), Tu Ming-hsiung (杜明雄), Tu Ming-lang (杜明郎), Liu Yang-kuo (劉炎國) and Tai Wen-ching (戴文慶) had all committed brutal crimes and had lost their consciences, the ministry said.

MOJ Deputy Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) held a press conference last night, saying that the crimes that the five convicts had been convicted of included murders, sexual assaults and robberies. The total was 33 robberies, the deaths of 11 innocent people and four injuries. Many of the victims were tortured to death, Chen added.

Chen went on to say that the five death-row inmates had received their final verdicts from the Supreme Court, noting that the MOJ underwent all necessary procedures to ensure that each convict's current legal status is not currently being appealed or involved in constitutional issues.

Considering the trauma suffered by the victims' families and the social unrest caused by the five convicts, the MOJ decided to give the order to have them executed.

Chen reiterated the MOJ's position on capital punishment, saying that the ministry remains willing to carry out the death penalty, but is trying to reduce the "chance" of executing death-row convicts.

The MOJ urges human rights activists to understand the pain the victims' families have been through and to consider some of the death-row inmates' willingness to die, Chen said, adding that the MOJ has to carry out executions in accordance with the law.

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