Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Life Watch to save Taiwan's innocent from death

The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) has launched the "Life Watch" project in an effort to prevent the execution of innocent people, according to The Taipei Times.

The organisation has called on individuals and members of the public to join the project, which was inspired by the Innocence Project in the USA, to scrutinise the convictions of people sentenced to death.

TAEDP said if US research was applied in Taiwan, about 34 people could have been wrongly executed between 1955 and 1992.

US figures suggested the courts have reached an incorrect verdict in 7 per cent of cases where the death penalty was imposed.

Research published by Taiwan's Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) in 1994 showed a total of 482 Taiwanese prisoners were executed in 1955-1992.

The Taipei Times said the "RDEC publication shows that most of the 482 executed persons were drawn from the lower-ranks of society, being unemployed or low-income workers, poorly educated, or young, first-time offenders".

The Life Watch project is co-sponsored by human rights, legal reform and religious organisations.

Related stories:
Taiwan 'improving' but call for abolition -- 11 October, 2007
Torment on Taiwan's death row -- 15 May, 2007
Taiwan limits mandatory penalties -- 29 January, 2007
Abolition debate for Taiwan in 2007 -- 12 January, 2007
Taiwan: Death penalty benefit an 'illusion' -- 14 December, 2006
Taiwan working towards abolition? -- 21 February, 2006

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