Death penalty to be retained but used cautiously: president
President Ma Ying- jeou said Sunday that his government’s policy is to retain the death penalty but use it cautiously, as it has been doing in recent years.
Addressing a national youth policy forum, Ma asked the participants about their views on the controversial issue of the death penalty.
Among the 85 participants at the annual forum that was organized by the Ministry of Education, 26 said they supported abolition of the death penalty law, while 46 said they did not.
One of the participants who expressed support for capital punishment said people who take others’ lives should be punished.
Another participant said he could not support the idea of abolishing the death penalty because a member of his family had been a victim of homicide. The perpetrator received a prison sentence of 14 years, which was commuted to eight years, he said.
The killer eventually left prison, while the victim’s family continues to suffer everlasting pain, said the young participant, who did not give his name.
Taking the other side of the argument, a participant said each life is unique, and one should not choose revenge after being hurt, but rather should choose forgiveness.
“A life for a life is too extreme,” the youth said.
In response, Ma said that during his tenure as justice minister 1993-1996, more than 50 deathrow prisoners were executed, but now there are only five or six executions per year.
The government will not abolish the death penalty at this time but will use it with caution, Ma said.
The Ministry of Justice has been reviewing the policy and is disinclined to carry out such sentences.
Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay, one of the many Cabinet members who attended the forum, said that while the death penalty is a thorny issue, it can be easily decided by legal means in a democratic country.
While all pacifists many want to see the death penalty done away with, this can only be done by means of a majority decision in society, the minister said.
The forum was also attended by Education Minister Wu Se-hwa and 85 participants, ages 18 to 35, from around the country.