Taiwan ex-minister to pay for mistake

2011-11-29 18:15

Taipei - A Taiwanese military court on Tuesday sought an injunction to freeze the assets of a former defence minister over his alleged role in a case where a soldier was wrongly executed 14 years ago.

The defence ministry said the court launched the legal action to bar former minister Chen Chao-min and seven other ex-military officers involved in the case from transferring their assets.

The move came after soldier Chiang Kuo-ching was posthumously acquitted by a military court in September, followed by a ruling that his family be paid $4.4m in compensation.

The military court has not yet decided on details of who will have to pay the compensation and how much, even though the money has already been given in advance to the victim's family by the government, the ministry said in a statement.

The eight former military officers have been under investigation for the alleged use of torture while interrogating the soldier.

Chen, who served as defence minister in 2008-2009, was air force commander at the time.

Chiang, a 21-year-old air force service member, was convicted by a military court in 1996 of raping and murdering a five-year-old girl at an air force base in Taipei. He was executed by firing squad in 1997.

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 early this year 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.

Read more on:    taiwan  |  military
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