Ex-Defense Minister to pay ministry for wrongful execution
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-29 06:42 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Defense Minister Chen Chao-min and five others were sentenced Thursday to pay a total of NT$59.55 million (US$1.98 million) in compensation to the Ministry of National Defense over the wrongful execution of a conscript for the murder of a little girl.

Chiang Kuo-ching was executed in 1997 at the age of 21 for the brutal rape and murder of a five-year-old girl at the Air Force Combat Command headquarters a year earlier. Later investigations came to the conclusion that his confession had been extracted through torture, but trials of another suspect ended with a not-guilty verdict, so the girl’s murder was never solved.

After the retrial concluded that Chiang was innocent, the ministry paid NT$131 million (US$4.33 million) in indemnity to his family, but also sought the freezing of Chen’s assets. The officer served as commander of the Air Force Combat Command at the time and was accused of being the mastermind behind the mishandled investigation into the crime.

Chen ordered Chiang to be held incommunicado and blindfolded in a cell overnight for an interrogation by counterintelligence officers, a practice which was illegal, reports said. During the seven hours of questioning, he was kept awake with strong lights and was forced to watch a video of the girl’s autopsy, reports said.

The Military Northern District Court, which acquitted Chiang, filed the compensation suit against the former officers with the Taipei District Court, demanding the ex-minister and five others each pay a total of NT$14.74 million (US$491,000).

According to Thursday’s verdict, Chen and counterintelligence officer Ho Chung-ching were each sentenced to pay a fine of NT$14.74 million as the military court had demanded.

Two other officers were sentenced to pay lower fines, one was absolved and another one who had died before the trial would have his fine paid by his two children, reports said.

A military court official who was present for the verdict said he might still appeal against Thursday’s outcome. Chen himself did not attend the court session, and attempts by local reporters to contact him for a reaction failed, reports said.

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