2013-2015

Confession under Torture Put Man in 23-Year Custody

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In 1987, Chiu He-Sun, Lin Kun-Ming, and Wu Shu-Jen, were accused of robbing an insurance agent Ke Yu-Lan and chopping up the corpse. Later that year, the three suspects were accused of kidnapping a child named Lu Zheng. One of the suspects, Chiu He-Sun, was detained in September 1988. In July 2011, Chiu’s death sentence was finalized after twenty-three years of detention. He is now on death row. The police officers in charge of the case have been convicted of torture. In 1997, after concluding its first investigation back in early nineties, the Control Yuan issued an impeachment case against ten police officers and two prosecutors who oversaw Lu Zheng’s case. The investigative report found that all of the evidence submitted to the trials over the years, were obtained under torture. By the time of the eleventh trial, the case was still rife with unsolved questions. Meanwhile, the Amnesty International issued an urgent action calling for his release. A number of civil groups in Taiwan have also rallied for the suspect to be released. A group of pro bono legal counsels has stood up in defense of Chiu. (Case No. 1030831185)

After receiving complaints filed by the Judicial Reform Foundation and other civil groups between 2013 and 2014, the Control Yuan launched a second investigation and found that:

1. The original final judgment was based on non-arbitrary and inadmissible evidence, which is in violation of Article 379 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

2. The co-offenders’ confession was used as the sole basis of conviction without any supplementary evidence, violating the code of ethics and rule of evidence.

3. The offenders’ confession and admission to crime were used as the basis of the original final judgment, despite the fact that they were questionable and lacking relevance and credibility.

4. The original judgment failed to examine the investigation process to identify any potential violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its general comments.

5. In the event that confessions by the co-offenders are deemed inadmissible, the case is left with almost no evidence, necessitating an extraordinary appeal as afforded by Article 441 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Based on the above findings, the Control Yuan issued an official letter to the Ministry of Justice to request a special appeal from the Supreme Prosecutor General. In October, 2014, the Ministry of Justice gave the following written response: the reasons specified in the original final judgment for admitting and dismissing the evidence are in line with the empirical rule and the rule of evidence; therefore there were no unlawful acts or any cause for an extraordinary appeal.

Since the case involves capital punishment, the Control Yuan has sent a copy of the said Ministry’s written response to the complainants and will continue to look for substantive facts that necessitate the Supreme Prosecutor General to file an extraordinary appeal.