Next execution could happen in March ’11: justice minister


TAIPEI–Prodded by a ruling-party lawmaker on the timetable for executing convicts on death row, Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu said yesterday that another execution could take place in March, following an 11-month hiatus.

“There is a chance (to carry out the death penalty) this month,” the minister said during a hearing at the Legislative Yuan after Kuomintang Legislator Wu Yu-sheng expressed concern over the execution process.

Tseng told the lawmaker that his ministry has taken a cautious approach to carrying out the death penalty and will only execute a death row inmate if he or she has given up or exhausted all legal avenues, such as filing an extraordinary appeal, a retrial and a constitutional interpretation.

Wu contended, however, that if death row inmates insisted on dying but were not granted their requests, that would also constitute a form of torture that denied convicts their human rights.

The death penalty was last carried out in Taiwan on April 30, 2010, when four death row inmates were executed. They were the first executions since 2005.

The lack of executions since 2005 drew attention early last year when then Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng, who is a death penalty opponent, insisted on stays of execution for death row inmates.

Wang resigned March 11 following an outcry from victims of violent crime and their families.

Tseng, who succeeded Wang to the position, has promised to carry out the death penalty according to the law.