EU & rights group re­peat calls for end to ex­e­cu­tions

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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