EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 38/04/95
25 May 1995
Further information on UA 76/95 (ASA 38/02/95, 23 March 1995) and follow-up
(ASA 38/03/95, 20 April) - Death penalty / Legal concern / Fear of imminent
TAIWAN (REPUBLIC OF CHINA) Su Chien-ho
Taiwan's Prosecutor General has made three unsuccessful appeals on behalf of
Su Chien-ho, Liu Ping-lang and Chuang Lin-hsiung in an attempt to prevent their
execution. He now is reported to have decided not to lodge any further appeals.
Following this decision the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, lawyers from
the Taiwan and Taipei Bar Associations and several legislators are planning
to make their own appeal in an attempt to save three men who may have been
convicted after unfair trial. They are asking the Minister of Justice to
reconsider the three death sentences and they are appealing to President Lee
Teng-hui to grant clemency.
Amnesty International is urging the authorities not to execute the three
prisoners. The organization is very concerned at reports that their trials
did not conform to international standards for fairness and that they may be
innocent. Amnesty International also opposes the death penalty in all cases
as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate form of cruel and inhuman
The three men were sentenced to death on charges of robbery, rape and murder.
The courts reportedly convicted the them largely on the basis of their own
confessions which they claim were extracted after ill-treatment by police
officers. Their families have reportedly filed a lawsuit against four police
officers whom they accuse of ill-treating the prisoners.
The death penalty is in force in Taiwan for a wide range of offences. At least
15 prisoners were executed in 1994. President Lee Teng-hui has the
constitutional right to commute death sentences but appears to do so rarely.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and
airmail letters in English, Chinese or your own language:
- urging President Lee Teng-hui to exercise his constitutional right to commute
the death sentences imposed on Su Chien-ho, Liu Ping-lang and Chuang Lin-hsiung
as a matter of urgency;
- urging the Minister of Justice to review their conviction following
expressions of concern by human rights groups, lawyers and Taiwan's Prosecutor
General that their trial did not conform to international standards for
- urging the Minister of Justice to order an immediate and impartial
investigation into reports that they were ill-treated during police
- expressing opposition to the death penalty in all cases as a violation of
the right to life and the ultimate form of torture and inhuman punishment and
seeking its abolition in law.