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Government agencies moving to clear executed soldier's name

ROC Central News Agency

2011/02/02 18:02:01

by Deborah Kuo

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Based on a directive by President Ma Ying-jeou, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is working with the Ministry of National Defense to clear the name of the late Air Force Private Chiang Kuo-ching, who is believed to have been wrongfully executed 14 years ago, Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu said Wednesday.

Kao said defense ministry officials and the MOJ have discussed the matter and have agreed that the quickest way to clear Chiang's name is for his family to file an appeal in the Military High Court against the soldier's conviction on rape and murder charges.

"We will opt for whatever is the quickest way to clear Chiang's name, "Kao said.

It will take time for the judicial system to process the matter, but the defense ministry hopes that a new trial could be completed in six months, he said.

"What is most important now is that no other errors be allowed in the appeal and retrial process," he added.

In a meeting with Chiang's family members Tuesday, President Ma extended a personal apology to them and promised that the government would pursue justice in the matter.

Chiang, 20, was executed in 1997 for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl at the Air Force Combat Command in Taipei the previous year.

Ma said his apology was a symbol of administrative justice, but he cautioned that it would take time for Chiang's name to be cleared in the judicial system.

The MOJ also said it has received a directive from President Ma to help speed up the case and assist Chiang's family in filing a claim for compensation.

The MOJ said it will first help Chiang's family file an appeal with the Military High Court to retry the case. If the court finds Chiang not guilty, the ministry said, it will help Chiang's family to file a claim for up to NT$30 million (US$1.035 million) in compensation.

Evidence uncovered recently by prosecutors suggests that Chiang's case may have been mishandled by military officers at the time and that the guilty verdict against him had been a miscarriage of justice.

One of Chiang's military colleagues was arrested by prosecutors recently on suspicion of being the true killer.

Chiang was executed in August 1997, less than a year after the murder occurred.

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