President Tsai’s administration carries out first death penalty
CNA file photo
Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) A death row inmate was executed Friday for killing his ex-wife and daughter in 2014 — the first execution since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office on May 20, 2016.
The man, identified as Lee Hung-chi (李宏基), was executed in Kaohsiung after Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥), who was sworn into office July 16, signed the order to carry out the execution Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Justice, Lee was executed because he murdered his ex-wife in a public place surrounded by witnesses and consistently displayed no remorse.
On Dec. 28, 2016, Lee was convicted by the Supreme Court of killing his ex-wife and daughter.
In April 2014, Lee went to the kingdergarten attended by his two daughters and tried to kidnap them. He was stopped by his ex-wife whom he stabbed to death outside the school after a quarrel.
Lee fled with one of his daughters and drove to Jianshih township in Hsinchu County, where he attempted to commit suicide and kill his daughter by burning charcoal in his car.
The two were later discovered by local police who rushed them to hospital. Lee survived the suicide attempt but his daughter did not.
The last execution carried out in Taiwan was on May 10, 2016, in which spree killer Cheng Jie (鄭捷) was executed for killing four and injuring 24 on a Taipei metro train in 2014.
Currently, 42 inmates remain on death row in Taiwan.
(By Hsiao Po-wen and Flor Wang)
Enditem/AW – Focus Taiwan, 31/8/2018
Human rights groups condemn political use of capital punishment
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Association for Human Rights
Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) Human rights groups on Friday condemned the execution of a death row inmate, alleging it was timed to boost the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chances in the nine-in-one local government elections on Nov. 24.
Lee Hung-chi (李宏基), who was sentenced to death in 2016 for stabbing to death his ex-wife and later killing his daughter as part of a murder-suicide by burning charcoal in his car in April 2014, was put to death at 3:37 p.m. Friday, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) confirmed.
Lee was the first death row inmate to be executed since the DPP assumed office on May 20, 2016, following the execution on May 10, 2016 of Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) who killed four people and injured 24 in a knife attack on a Taipei Metro train in May 2014.
Activists representing human rights groups scheduled a press conference at 6p.m. in front of the MOJ in protest, holding placards that read “killing for votes.”
“Why did the DPP government chose to enforce an execution now, two or three months away from the elections?” asked Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎), secretary-general of Taiwan Association for Human Rights. “They were aiming at getting more votes.”
The DPP flies in the face of covenants upheld by the United Nations and international human rights organizations that the issue of capital punishment should not be used for political purposes or electoral gain, Chiu said.
“How is the DPP different from the Kuomintang (KMT),” Chiu said. “Does the DPP truly believe in the universal value of abolishing the death penalty?”
During the previous KMT administration from 2008-2016, former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) broke the moratorium Taiwan observed from 2006-2009, carrying out 33 executions, several of which were criticized for being timed to gain political leverage.
The DPP has recently supported the abolition of the death penalty. Point 26 of the DPP Action Plan adopted in 1999 said the party would “respect life, prevent miscarriages of justice and search for ways to end the use of capital punishment.”
However, in the previous DPP administration under former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from 2000-2008, 32 death row inmates were executed before he introduced the moratorium in 2006.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has avoided taking a position on the issue since she assumed office, except her remarks in July that the death penalty remains on the books and that the MOJ would decide under what circumstances an execution could be carried out.
During the presidential election campaign in 2015, Tsai said that abolition of the death penalty is contingent on whether the country has reached a consensus on the issue and alternative measures are in place.
Head of Covenants Watch Huang Song-lih (黃嵩立) told the press conference that the DPP administration “made an erroneous decision” to carry out the execution.
“President Tsai has repeatedly declared that human rights are the principle on which her governance is based,” Huang said. “But the execution demonstrates that her administration has reneged on its promise to gradually move the country toward abolition.”
In late July, soon after taking office, Justice Minister Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that the government’s policy to gradually move toward abolition of the death penalty remains unchanged.
(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
Enditem/AW – Focus Taiwan, 31/8/2018
EU expresses dismay at execution of Lee Hung-chi
Lee Hung-chi (李宏基), 39, who was convicted of murder in 2014, was executed in Kaohsiung on Friday.
Lee was initially sentenced to life imprisonment by the Kaohsiung District Court for stabbing his ex-wife to death and killing his daughter by carbon monoxide poisoning in April 2014.
The High Court later changed the punishment to the death sentence and that ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2016.
In a statement released in Brussels, the EU expressed its sincere sympathy to the family and friends of the people Lee killed.
Separately, Maja Kocijancic, a spokesperson for the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service, said that the EU is unequivocally opposed to capital punishment.
“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” Kocijancic said.
At the first EU-Taiwan Human Rights Consultations in Taipei in March, participants discussed the merits of holding a broad public debate regarding capital punishment, taking into account its decline worldwide and accelerating the work of the task force on the death penalty in Taiwan, Kocijancic said.
In addition to these measures, the EU looks to Taiwan’s authorities to immediately reintroduce a moratorium on the death penalty, as recommended by international experts in March 2013, as a first step to its total abolition, she said. – Taipei Times, 2/9/2018