Taiwan: First execution under President Tsai Ing-wen a crushing setback to abolition hopes

Responding to the execution of a 39-year-old man in Taiwan today – the country’s first execution since President Tsai Ing-wen came to office in 2016 – Amnesty International Taiwan’s Acting Section Director, Annie Huang, said:

“It is deeply disappointing that Taiwan has decided to resume the implementation of a cruel punishment, especially after President Tsai Ing-wen had stated clearly that her government aims to abolish the death penalty.

“That pledge now rings hollow. Today’s execution is a crushing setback to the abolitionist movement in Taiwan and an act that casts a shadow over Tsai’s presidency.

“The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and can never deliver justice or accountability. We once again call on the Taiwanese authorities to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty once and for all.”

Lee Hung-chi, who was convicted of murder in 2014, was executed by firing squad on Friday afternoon.

He was initially sentenced to life in prison by the Kaohsiung District Court, but the Taiwan High Court later changed the punishment to a death sentence – a move approved by the country’s Supreme Court in 2016.

The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception – regardless of who is accused, the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.