UCA News



Updated: July 29, 1993 05:00 PM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Share this article :

Amnesty International (AI), a vocal opponent of capital punishment, has particularly condemned Taiwan´s shackling of condemned prisoners and use of executed prisoners´ organs.

AI, a London-based human rights monitor, reported that prisoners in special "death row" cells in Taiwan spend months with their feet permanently shackled.

"The death penalty violates the most fundamental right of all -- the right of life. To further punish prisoners who are waiting to die by shackling them is a cruel outrage," an AI statement maintained.

Taiwan´s policy of "harvesting" of organs from executed prisoners, AI continued, creates a "moral quagmire" as the timing of executions could be influenced by the need of organs.

The report also expressed concern over executions being carried out through the use of lethal injection administered by medical personnel. It says this is a "radical misuse of medical skills."

Finally, AI urges the Taiwan government to abolish the death penalty unconditionally, and stop carrying out any executions and commute all death sentences until this is done.

In a response July 22, Taipei´s Ministry of Justice defended the shackling of condemned prisoners´ feet to prevent suicides or escape attempts.

The ministry´s vice minister, Lin Hsi-hu, denied AI´s charge that prisoners were "left to rot" until they were executed and noted that any donation of a prisoner´s organ was done with the inmate´s consent.

Lin did say, though, that Taiwan was moving away from using lethal injections as a form of execution to avoid putting doctors in moral conflict with their "Hippocratic oath," which binds them to preserve life.

According to the records of the ministry, there were 35 executions in the country in 1992, 59 in 1991, 78 in 1990, 69 in 1989 and 22 in 1988.

On May 25, representatives of AI Taipei Group I visited the federal Legislative Yuan branch office, the Ministry of Justice and the president´s office to advocate the abolition of capital punishment.

The Ministry of Justice replied that the death penalty is necessary in light of rising social disorder, with criminal cases having jumped from 170,347 cases in 1991 to 208,963 cases in 1992.

Since the lifting of martial law in 1987, Churches and human rights institutions have become more outspoken against the death penalty.


Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia