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May 28, 2017

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UK expresses regret over recent executions

TAIPEI -- The United Kingdom expressed regret on Tuesday over Taiwan's execution of five death-row inmates the day before, citing their stance against the death penalty.

"We have learned today with regret that Taiwan has carried out five further executions. This follows instances of multiple executions carried out in previous years," a UK Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"The UK is disappointed that Taiwan has not followed its declared intention to progress towards abolition, and to elevate its human rights policies to international standards," the statement read.

The UK opposes "the use of the death penalty in all circumstances" and continues to urge its partners all over the world "to join what is a clear global trend towards abolition," the Foreign Office said.

In a similar vein, the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan also said on Facebook Tuesday that the EU opposes the use of death penalty under any circumstances.

The five prisoners killed Tuesday were found guilty of a total of 11 murders, Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang said in an announcement following the executions.

Chen maintained Taiwan's stance on keeping the death penalty but reducing its frequency of use, citing the Ministry of Justice's efforts to review relevant laws.

The number of death row inmates stands at 47 after the executions, including two inmates whose cases are being retried. The last execution took place on April 19, 2013, when six violent criminals were put to death.

Taiwan was criticized in late March in an annual report on capital punishment by Amnesty International, which blasted the country's practice of not publicizing a prisoner's execution date — even to his or her family members and lawyers — until after the execution has been carried out.

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