Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Taiwan working towards abolition?

The government of Taiwan is working to lower the number of executions carried out each year, according to a report in the Taipei Times.

Justice Minister Morley Shih said the Taiwanese Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has filed extraordinary appeals to the Supreme Court in an effort to delay the execution of some prisoners. Where the Supreme Court has rejected these appeals, the MOJ has also attempted to stay the executions.

According to official MOJ figures, there were 109 people on death row in Taiwan as of 17 February, with 15 awaiting execution after they were given their final sentence. The death row population in said to be growing, with fewer executions being carried out.

The government is said to be aiming at eventual abolition of the death penalty, but Justice Minister Shih said a majority of people believed it was needed as a deterrent against crime.

Newspapers have reported cases of mental illness among prisoners on death row, including the suicide of a prisoner last month who reportedly told prison staff that waiting for his execution date was too painful.

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