05 February 2011

Justice Taiwan Style

Taiwan leader in rare apology over executed soldier

Taiwan leader in rare apology over executed soldier AFP/File – Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has extended a rare apology to the family of a soldier feared to …
TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou extended a rare apology to the family of a soldier feared to have been wrongly executed for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl 15 years ago.
Ma on Tuesday hugged the mother of Chiang Kuo-ching, who was 21 years old when put to death by a firing squad in 1997, and also bowed to a portrait of the soldier, TV footage live from the family's home near Taipei showed.
"I know you and your family have been suffering for this for more than 10 years," Ma, whose first language is Mandarin, said in heavily accented Taiwanese.
"The government has acted wrongly in this case. As the head of state, I'm obliged to apologise to you on behalf of the government."
Chiang, an air force serviceman, was convicted by a military court in 1996 of raping and murdering the girl at an air force base in Taipei.
His father, who died last year, believed he had been wrongly convicted and repeatedly appealed to the top ombudsman body supervising government employees, the Control Yuan, and to the judicial authorities.
In a letter home, Chiang had insisted he was innocent and was coerced by a group of air force intelligence officers into confessing.
The Control Yuan impeached the military court last year, saying the evidence against Chiang, including fingerprints gathered at the crime scene, was insufficient.
In response, the prosecution authorities last year ordered the formation of a special group to look into the case.
The prosecutors last week ordered the arrest of a man who has twice been jailed for sexually abusing little girls since 1997 and served in the air force in 1996.

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