Taiwan Premier Announces Temporary Halt on Executions Until President-Elect Lai Ching-te Takes Office

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 8:13 am

Premier Chen Chien-jen declared on Friday that there are no plans to carry out executions in Taiwan until the inauguration of President-elect Lai Ching-te on May 20. The announcement comes amidst ongoing discussions about the constitutionality of death sentences for 37 individuals currently on death row.

Premier Chen addressed lawmakers, highlighting that the majority of those on death row are awaiting rulings on the constitutionality of their sentences. The Constitutional Court is scheduled to deliberate on these issues on April 23, with a focus on the case of an individual sentenced to death for his involvement in the killing of two police officers.

Respecting the independence of the court, Premier Chen acknowledged the diverse range of opinions within the nation on the matter of capital punishment. Responding to inquiries from Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en, he recalled that two executions had taken place during President Tsai Ing-wen’s two terms in office since 2016.

Legislator Ko urged the Cabinet to take a definitive stance on the death penalty issue and not delay the decision. She referenced certain opinion polls indicating that up to 88% of the public opposes the abolition of capital punishment.

The Premier emphasized that the government is committed to respecting the rule of law and the court’s decisions while also considering the diverse perspectives on capital punishment. The temporary halt on executions is seen as a measure to await the Constitutional Court’s deliberations and the upcoming presidential transition. The debate over the abolition of the death penalty remains a contentious issue in Taiwan, reflecting the deep-seated divisions within the public.

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