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Prosecutors appeal verdict in military abuse case
Central News Agency
2014-03-31 11:05 PM
Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Taoyuan prosecutors on Monday appealed all 18 of the verdicts handed down earlier this month in a high-profile military abuse case, arguing in part that they were too lenient. Prosecutors with the Taoyuan District Prosecutors' Office challenged both the sentences given to the 13 defendants who were found guilty and the court's determination of the cause of death of the Army corporal who died in detention. The death of 24-year-old Hung Chung-chiu on June 4 last year was determined by the court without strong evidence, the district prosecutors' office contended in filing its appeal. The prosecutors argued that the court handling the case turned to forensic experts and a military hospital for their diagnosis of Hung's death, rather than having the Ministry of Justice's Institute of Forensic Medicine or an independent medical affairs review committee look at the case, as public prosecutors had requested. As a result, they were not convinced by the court's finding that Hung's death was caused by "unintentional acts," the prosecutors said. In the 230-page verdict, the Taoyuan District Court convicted 13 defendants on charges that included abuse of power, offenses against personal freedom and negligent homicide in connection with Hung's death. They were given sentences ranging from three to eight months in jail, but at least some of those convicted would probably not have had to serve time because the court allowed them to pay a fine of NT$1,000 per day of their sentences instead of going to jail. The five other defendants were found not guilty. The appeal filed Tuesday covers all the 18 defendants. Hung died of heatstroke on July 4, 2013, after being forced to do strenuous exercise in sweltering heat in a confinement facility that he should not have been in in the first place. The death sparked major protests in Taiwan, especially as the military seemed to drag its feet in investigating Hung's death. Public pressure eventually led to new legislation that put civilian courts and prosecutors in charge of military criminal cases. (By Bien Chin-feng and Elizabeth Hsu)
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