EU called on Taiwan to stop use of the death penalty

In a statement released after man’s execution for double murder, the EU said that it “looks to the Taiwanese authorities to immediately reintroduce a moratorium on the death penalty”.

Taipei, Sept. 1 (CNA)-Responding to the first execution under President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration Friday, the European Union (EU) expressed its opposition to the use of capital punishment and its wish that Taiwan immediately reintroduce a moratorium on the death penalty.

Lee Hung-chi (李宏基), 39, who was convicted of murder in 2014, was executed in Kaohsiung on Friday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice confirmed.

Lee was initially sentenced to life imprisonment by the district court in Kaohsiung for stabbing to death his ex-wife and later killing his daughter through carbon monoxide poisoning as part of a murder-suicide in April 2014.

Taiwan’s High Court later changed the punishment to a death sentence and the ruling was upheld by Taiwan’s Supreme Court in 2016.

In a statement released Friday in Brussels, the EU expressed its sincere sympathy to the family and friends of the victims of the crimes committed.

At the same time, Maja Kocijancic, a spokesperson for European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service, said that the EU is unequivocally opposed to the use of 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.

In the first EU-Taiwan Human Rights Consultations, held in March in Taipei, the participants had 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, she said.

In addition to these measures, she said, 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.