Mother of executed airman calls for charges on Taiwan minister

Mother of executed airman calls for charges on Taiwan minister
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

TAIPEI, Taiwan -The mother of the late Air Force Pvt. Chiang Kuo-ching, who was wrongfully executed in 1997, asked prosecutors on Thursday to review charges against former Defence Minister Chen Chao-min who she claims was responsible for the death of her son.

Wang Tsai-lien, accompanied by her lawyer, said that Chen, then head of the Air Force Combat Command when Chiang's case occurred, was responsible for the arrest and confinement that ultimately lead to Chiang's forced confession for murdering a 5-year-old girl surnamed Hsieh in 1996.

However, prosecutors have repeatedly refused to press charges against Chen and seven other former military personnel involved in Chiang's death, Wang said.

She and her lawyer called on the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office to review the charges and to reopen the case if possible.

Wang's move came after the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on Dec. 1 decided not to indict Chen and seven other suspects over charges raised by Wang.

The office said the decision to execute Chiang was made after a trial and there was no direct link between Chiang's death and the decision by Chen and others to arrest him.

Also, prosecutors have no way to press charges against Chen and others even if they are proven to have played a role in the case, as it is now many years beyond the 10-year statue of limitations, according to prosecutors.

This was the third time prosecutors decided not to charge Chen since Wang filed the case in 2011 in an attempt to punish those she believes were responsible for her son's wrongful execution.

The Story of Chiang

Chiang was executed in 1997 for the rape and murder of Hsieh at the Air Force Combat Command in Taipei the previous year.

However, a reopening of the case by the government watchdog Control Yuan in 2011 found that the soldier might have been wrongfully executed.

According to investigators, Chiang was tortured by 14 Air Force anti-espionage personnel continually for 37 hours before making the confession that led to his conviction and execution.

A record NT$103 million (S$4.4 million) in compensation was later given to the family of Chiang for the wrongful execution.

Chiang's fellow soldier, Hsu Jung-chou, was later listed as a suspect.

On March 19, 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that Hsu was not responsible for the murder of Hsieh either. The court said that it could not accept Hsu's confessions, which had been contradictory, because he was mentally challenged and had difficulty expressing himself.

Furthermore, a bloody palm print left at the crime scene, the main evidence prosecutors used to indict Hsu, was lost.

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