FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
and its member organizations in Taiwan
Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR)
Joint press release
Taiwan: Second execution under President Tsai condemned
Paris, Taipei, 2 April 2020: Yesterday’s execution of a convicted murderer casts serious doubts on Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s commitment to human rights and marks a setback in Taiwan’s efforts to abolish the death penalty, FIDH and its member organizations Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) and Covenants Watch said today.
“President Tsai ends her first term on a disappointing note. She should reverse course and immediately announce an official moratorium on executions during her second term,” said FIDH Secretary-General Adilur Rahman Khan.
On 1 April 2020, Weng Jen-hsien, 54, was shot by a single executioner at Taipei Prison. Mr. Weng was sentenced to death on 13 February 2017 after being found guilty of burning to death five family members and a caregiver on Lunar New Year’s Eve on 7 February 2016 at the family home in Taoyuan City. On 10 July 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Mr. Weng.
FIDH, TAHR, and Covenants Watch urge the government to implement the recommendations made by the International Group of Independent Experts in March 2013, to intensify its efforts towards the abolition of capital punishment and to immediately introduce a moratorium on executions. There are currently 39 prisoners on death row in Taiwan.
“The Ministry of Justice said that it has to balance social justice and human rights, as if social justice can only be achieved through sacrifice of some people’s rights. We do not agree with this misleading rhetoric of equating vengeance with justice,” said Covenants Watch Chief Executive Officer Yibee Huang.
Mr. Weng’s execution was the second under President Tsai. The previous execution took place on 31 August 2018, when Li Hong-Ji, 41, was executed at Kaohsiung Second Prison. President Tsai took office in May 2016 and was elected to a second term in January 2020. She is scheduled to be inaugurated on 20 May 2020. In a letter that outlined a human rights agenda for President Tsai’s second term, FIDH, TAHR, and Covenants Watch called on Ms. Tsai to establish an official moratorium on executions, the commutation of all death sentences, and the creation of a detailed timeline for the complete abolition of the death penalty.
“We strongly condemn the government’s unwillingness to stop executions, especially because it fully understands that carrying out executions will not solve any problem,” said TAHR Secretary General Yi-Hsiang Shih.
During its 40th Congress in Taipei in October 2019, FIDH adopted a motion condemning the use of the death penalty in Taiwan. The motion also highlighted the case of 60-year-old Chiou Ho-shun, who has been behind bars for 31 years, the last eight of which have been on death row.
FIDH, a founding member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) and a member of the WCADP Steering Committee, TAHR, and Covenants Watch, reiterate their strong opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances.
FIDH: Ms. Pan Yi