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Parents want compensation in military abuse case

TAIPEI--Parents of an Army corporal who died in detention last July asked for NT$23.82 million (US$793,800) in compensation at the Taiwan High Court Monday from 18 defendants accused of causing the soldier's death.

Lee Hsuan-yi, the lawyer representing the parents of Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), filed a civil suit at the court demanding the compensation. The Hung family has already requested compensation from the state, negotiations on which are underway.

The suit was filed during the High Court trial of the high-profile military abuse case following an appeal by the Hung family against a verdict and sentencing handed down by the Taoyuan District Court in March on the case.

The 24-year-old conscript died of heat exhaustion July 4, 2013 after being forced to do strenuous exercise in sweltering heat in a confinement facility that he should not have been detained in to begin with.

The death sparked major protests in Taiwan, especially as the military seemed to drag its feet in investigating the college graduate's death.

The public pressure eventually led to the drafting of new legislation that puts civilian courts and prosecutors in charge of military criminal cases.

On March 7, the Taoyuan District Court convicted 13 of the defendants on charges including abuse of power, offenses against personal freedom and negligent homicide in connection with Hung's death.

They were given sentences ranging from three to eight months in jail, but at least some of them will probably not have to serve time because they are allowed to pay a fine of NT$1,000 per day of their sentences instead of going to jail.

The five other defendants were found not guilty.

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