Saturday, November 24, 2012

My son executed - then they said they made a mistake

"My son was killed for a crime he did not commit…. our family has lived in shame and neighbours never spoke to us. Whatever apology or compensation the government promises, it is too late.”- Wang Tsai-lien, mother of Chiang Kuo-ching who was coerced into making a confession and subsequently executed in error in 1997 in Taiwan.1

In January 2011, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice admitted that Chiang Kuo-ching, a private in the Air Force, had been executed in error in 1997 for a murder committed 15 years previously. The authorities acknowledged that his statement “confessing” to the crime had been made as a result of torture and that his conviction had been rushed through a military court. The court had ignored his allegations of torture and his pleas of innocence. In September 2011, a military court formally acquitted Chiang Kuo-ching and a month later Taiwan's Ministry of Defence announced it will pay US$3.4m in compensation to Chiang Kuo-ching’s relatives.3

Chiang Kuo-ching is not an isolated case. Across the region, as elsewhere in the world, people are sentenced to death after proceedings which fail to meet international standards of fair trial

“The law is the law but I wish Parliament would abolish the death sentence because if a mistake is made, it would be irreversible. There are other ways of dealing with heinous crimes.” - Former High Court and Court of Appeal Judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah, Malaysia.2

More people are executed in the Asia-Pacific region than in the rest of the world combined. Add to this the probability that they were executed following an unfair trial, and the gross injustice of this punishment becomes all too clear.

Failures of justice in trials which result in an execution cannot be rectified. In the Asia-Pacific region, where 95 per cent of the population live in countries that retain and use the death penalty, there is a real danger of the state executing someone in error following an unfair trial.

Source: ADPAN Report - When Justice Fails = Thousands Executed In Asia After Unfair Trial

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