Chiou Ho-shun sentenced to death The "Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act" is killing Chiou Ho-shun!

Chiou Ho-shun sentenced to death

The "Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act" is killing Chiou Ho-shun!

Statement Released by Judicial Reform Foundation, July 28, 2011

With regards to the Supreme Court's rejection, on June 28 2011, of the appeals of Chiou Ho-shun(邱和順), Lin Kun-ming(林坤明)  and Wu Shu-zhen (吳淑貞), and the decision to sentence Chiou Ho-shun to death, the Judicial Reform Foundation issues the following statement:

1. On May 12, 2011, the High Court found the defendants, Chiou Ho-shun, Lin Kun-ming and Wu Shu-zhen, guilty. The defendants refused to accept the verdict and decided to appeal. At the beginning of June, the Supreme Court received the complete case file of evidence for the first time. On June 3, defense lawyers presented the first appeal document, and have continued to supplement the case until now. In less than two months, the Supreme Court has completed a case that has been through 11 trials over a period of 24 years, and has sentenced Chiou Ho-shun to death. We are baffled by this extremely rash decision.

2. An investigation into this case by the Control Yuan confirmed that there is clear evidence of the extortion of confession by torture. The Supreme Court disregarded this obvious flaw in the case, and insisted on its judgement of the death penalty for Chiou Ho-shun, thus showing an utter disregard for human life.

3. The extraordinary speed with which this case has been tried and completed, obviously relates to the influence of the "Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act"* which will become effective in May 2012. This law limits the period that a defendant may be detained to a maximum of 8 years: if there is no way to complete the investigation within that time, the defendant should be released. Even though the "Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act" should guarantee the defendant's right to a prompt trial, it has, in fact, been a source of pressure on the court to quickly sentence Chiou Ho-shun to death. To say that the "The Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act" is killing Chiou Ho-shun is no exaggeration.

4. Since Chiang Kuo-ching's wrongful execution, we need not look far for a warning from history. Both Chiang Kuo-ching and Chiou Ho-shun were victims of torture applied in order to extort confession. The Judicial Reform Foundation will proceed through multiple channels to continue to support Chiou Ho-shun, and to prevent the worst from happening. 

* The Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act (刑事妥速審判法) (clause 5, articles 2-4) was announced on May 19 2010, and will come into effect on May 19 2012, two years after its announcement.

(Translated by Grace Jackson)