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September 26, 2017

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Physical training to stay part of disciplinary confinement

The physical training portion will stay in place during disciplinary confinement for military personnel, but it will be conducted in a reasonable fashion, Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) said yesterday.

 Fielding questions at a Legislative Yuan committee meeting yesterday, Hsia said the military has proposed to reform disciplinary confinement for military personnel as part of a court martial system overhaul launched following the death of an Army corporal last July.

 In the future, those who violate military regulations will face a fine, grounding, or demotion among other punishments instead of being put into the brig, Hsia said.

 Meanwhile, those who are thrown into military confinement rooms will attend lectures on obeying military discipline and will also receive counseling services, he noted.

 Asked by lawmakers to comment if the reform means soldiers who are serving military confinement no longer need to undergo physical training, Hsia stressed that the physical training portion will continue to stay in place during disciplinary confinement.

 "All military personnel sent for disciplinary confinement at military confinement centers are still required to undergo physical training sessions during their confinement," he said.

  However, he noted that the physical training will be conducted in a reasonable fashion.

 The change was made amid public calls for comprehensive military judicial reform in the wake of the controversial death of Army Corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) in July, 2013.

 Hung, 24, was thrown into the brig on June 28, 2013 and was forced to perform grueling exercises in hot weather before he collapsed on July 3. He died a day later of multiple organ failure caused by heatstroke.

 The MND's probes later revealed administrative errors in the Army's processing of Hung's confinement.

The incident has drawn public outrage over the military's poor handling of the case, forcing the military to apologize and promise to launch reforms to improve human rights in the military.

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