EU & rights group repeat calls for end to executions
The European Union has reiterated its opposition to the use of the death penalty and called for an “immediate moratorium” on executions after Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice executed six deathrow inmates on Friday.
Amnesty International, the London- based human rights group, also said the Taiwan government “should establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition,” which is Taipei’s stated longterm goal.
“We recognize the suffering of the victims of the crimes involved and express our sincere sympathy to their families,” said the statement issued late Friday by the European External Action Service, which is the EU’s diplomatic service.
“However, the EU reiterates that the death penalty can never be justified and calls for its universal abolition,” it said.
The EU statement came after the executions of six Taiwanese inmates, all of whom had been convicted of murder.
Taiwan’s Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang said Friday that consideration of executing the six started in mid-May when the ministry reviewed the situations of all 48 inmates on death row in Taiwan to see if there were still judicial remedies that applied to them.
The number was cut to 25 after the review, and six were se- lected based on the severity and brutality of their crimes, Chen said.
Prior to Friday’s statement, the EU issued similar statements after Taiwan carried out executions in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Last year, Taiwan executed five people on death row and imposed one new death sentence, all involving people convicted of murder, Amnesty International said. Taiwan was one of 22 countries to carry out executions in 2014, it added.
The EU considers capital punishment inhumane and unnecessary, saying that experience has shown that it does not serve as a deterrent to crime. No legal system is flawless and any miscarriage of justice could lead to the tragic loss of an innocent life, it said on its website.
In its statement, Amnesty International criticizes the decision by Taiwan’s government to carry out the executions at this time, saying it “reeks of political calculations by a government attempting to gain points by quelling public anger.”
The executions occurred amid public outrage following the random killing of an 8-year-old girl in a Taipei school last week.
Police said the suspect, a 29- year- old alumnus of the school who was unemployed and who claimed he suffered from hallucinations, slit the throat of the girl in a school bathroom.