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Taiwan high court rejects death row inmate’s retrial motion

GavelTaiwan’s high court on Monday rejected a motion by the island’s longest-serving death row prisoner for a retrial, saying the new evidence presented by his lawyers was not sufficient.

Chiou Ho-shun, 55, has been on death row since 1989 after being found guilty of kidnapping and murdering a six-year-old boy and robbing and killing a woman.

His lawyers lodged a motion with the high court early this month after two retired police officers backed Chiou’s claims that he confessed to the crimes after being tortured.

The officers presented their evidence to the top government watchdog the Control Yuan in 2013, which recommended an “extraordinary appeal” to prosecutors.

But the appeal was rejected late last year, prompting rights group the Judicial Reform Foundation to seek the retrial on June 9.

“The new evidence (presented by the lawyers) was not sufficient to clear or reduce the sentence of Chiou… therefore there is no excuse for a retrial,” the high court said in a statement Monday.

The lawyers at the Judicial Reform Foundation lambasted the ruling.

“The ruling in a rush was unacceptable,” its spokesman Kao Jung-chih told AFP.

“It took them only 12 days to reject the appeal, showing they had not re-examined the flawed rulings in the past and did not care about his life at all,” Kao said, adding that the foundation will appeal to the supreme court.

Chiou has said he was beaten, given electric shocks, forced to sit on ice and held blindfolded in a small isolated cell during the month-long police investigation.

His appeals have been repeatedly rejected, with the high court giving a final ruling three years ago that the death sentence should stand.

Amnesty International has called the case “a stain on Taiwan’s justice system”.

Chiou is among 42 death-row inmates.

Taiwan resumed executions in 2010 after a five-year hiatus, putting 27 prisoners to death since then including six early this month.

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