EU condemns Taiwan’s use of death penalty after man’s execution for double murder
Bloc criticises island for ‘cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent’
The European Union called on Taiwan to stop use of the death penalty after the self-ruled island executed an inmate who killed his ex-wife and five-year-old daughter in 2014.
Lee Hung-chi was executed by firing squad on Friday despite calls from rights groups to abolish the death penalty.
In a statement released after the execution, the EU said it was “unequivocally opposed to the use of capital punishment”.
“It is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” the statement said.
It added that the EU “looks to the Taiwanese authorities to immediately reintroduce a moratorium on the death penalty”.
Taiwan resumed capital punishment in 2010 after a five-year hiatus, with the death penalty reserved for the most serious crimes such as aggravated murder and kidnapping.
Lee stabbed his former spouse to death outside the kindergarten their two daughters attended and then took one of the girls to his car, where he tried to kill both her and himself by carbon monoxide poisoning.
He survived after they were rescued but the girl died two months later despite treatment.
“His actions were brutal and ruthless … and inflicted irreparable harm to the victims’ family,” deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang said.
Lee’s execution is the first since a former college student was put to death in May 2016 for killing four people in a random stabbing spree on an underground train that shocked the generally peaceful island.
In 2012 the murder of a young boy in a playground reignited debate about the death penalty, after the suspect reportedly said he was anticipating free lodging in jail and would get a life sentence at most even if he were to kill two or three people.
Amnesty International Taiwan’s acting section director Annie Huang said it was disappointing that Taiwan had decided to resume capital punishment.
“The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and can never deliver justice or accountability,” she said.
“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.”