End executions, make progress towards abolishing the death penalty
(Paris, Taipei) Last week’s execution of a convicted murderer marks a massive step back in the fulfillment of the Taiwanese government’s promise to abolish the death penalty, FIDH and its member organization Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) said today.
“Capital punishment in Taiwan is an anachronistic vestige of the country’s authoritarian past. President Tsai should immediately announce an official moratorium on executions and take steps towards the abolition of the death penalty.”
–Adilur Rahman Khan, FIDH Vice-President
On 31 August 2018, Li Hong-Ji, 41, was shot by a single executioner at Kaohsiung Second Prison. On 15 June 2015, the Kaohsiung District Court had sentenced Mr. Li to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of killing his ex-wife and six-year-old daughter in 2014. However, the prosecutor appealed the life sentence as too lenient and, on 20 October 2015, the High Court sentenced Mr. Li to death. On 28 December 2016, the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence. Mr. Li refused to seek clemency or a commutation of his sentence.
Mr. Li’s execution was the first in more than two years. The previous execution took place on 10 May 2016, when Zheng Jie, 23, was executed with three gunshots to his heart at the Tucheng detention center in New Taipei City after being found guilty of fatally stabbing four people in the 21 May 2014 Taipei metro attack. There are still 42 prisoners on death row in Taiwan. The Ministry of Justice stated that Mr. Li’s execution was “necessary” in order to “achieve social justice and establish judicial credibility and prestige.”
“Considering the government’s decline in popularity ahead of the upcoming local elections over its poor handling of the floods, the timing of the execution is highly questionable and controversial. The ongoing use of the death penalty is a significant setback for Taiwan and undermines the country’s ambition to become a human rights leader in the region. The government should stop all executions and keep the promise it made to gradually abolish the death penalty.”
–E-Ling Chiu, TAHR Secretary-General
FIDH and TAHR urge the government to implement the recommendations made by the International Group of Independent Experts in March 2013, to intensify its efforts towards the abolition of capital punishment and to immediately introduce a moratorium on executions.
FIDH, a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), and TAHR reiterate their strong opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances.