Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

7 December 2012

Taiwan: No bowing to public pressure over executions

Taiwan: No bowing to public pressure over executions
Taiwanese campaigners call for abolition of the death penalty.

Taiwanese campaigners call for abolition of the death penalty.

© Amnesty International


This is a deplorable statement by the Ministry of Justice, and all the more disappointing because of the government’s earlier stated commitment to move away from the death penalty
Source: 
Roseann Rife, Head of East Asia for Amnesty International
Date: 
Fri, 07/12/2012

Taiwan must not succumb to public pressure and revert to using the death penalty, Amnesty International said as it urged an immediate moratorium on capital punishment as a first step towards its abolition.

Public pressure has been building on the government to carry out executions following the murder of a 10 year-old boy in the city of Tainan on 1 December 2012.

The alleged murderer is reported to have said he did not fear being executed, because of the Taiwanese government commitment to move away from using the death penalty.

On 6 December, following several large-scale demonstrations calling for the execution of the alleged murderer, the Ministry of Justice stated that “executions must be carried out” but that it had not set a timetable yet.

“This is a deplorable statement by the Ministry of Justice, and all the more disappointing because of the government’s earlier stated commitment to move away from the death penalty,” said Roseann Rife, Head of East Asia for Amnesty International.

Taiwan has not executed anyone this year. Five people were executed in 2011 and 61 people remain on death row.

The government has agreed to implement the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and repeatedly reaffirmed its intention to eventually abolish the death penalty.

“Regardless of how shocking it is, one individual incident cannot justify a return to the implementation of the death penalty. Carrying out executions now would represent a serious step backwards for the Taiwanese government,” said Rife.

Taiwan provides no procedure that would allow people on death row to seek a pardon or for the sentence to be commuted – a right recognized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Taiwanese parliament has voted to implement.

Family members are not informed about scheduled executions in advance. They only find out when they are invited to collect the body from the mortuary.

In addition, serious fair trial concerns have marked the imposition of the death penalty in Taiwan.

In April, Taiwan's High Court quashed the convictions of three men sentenced to death over the murder of a couple 21 years ago, as it found that the convictions were based on unreliable confessions:

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

Campaigns

Abolish the death penalty  

Issue

Death Penalty 

Country

Taiwan 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

Follow #DeathPenalty @amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

22 August 2014

The rare acquittal of a death row prisoner in China, who had languished in prison through six years’ of appeals, is another reminder of the need to immediately end all... Read more »

21 August 2014

After fleeing their homes and surviving a perilous Mediterranean crossing, African migrants in Italy are falling prey to labor gangs.

Read more »
22 August 2014

A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country... Read more »