One possible prisoner of conscience was acquitted and one released at the end of his sentence. A conscript died as a result of torture in an army disciplinary unit. Prisoners under sentence of death continued to be held in conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. At least three people were executed. A new cabinet led by Prime Minister Lien Chan was named in February by President Lee Teng-hui, who was re-elected Chairman of the ruling Kuomintang at a party congress in August. In January the Foreign Ministry issued a paper, Report on Foreign Affairs, which stated that rejoining the UN was one of Taiwan's "major diplomatic goals". Taiwan is not a party to any of the UN's treaties relating to the protection of human rights. Chang Tsan-hung, a possible prisoner of conscience, was acquitted in March of charges of sedition and attempted murder for which he had been sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in June 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993). The Taiwan High Court ruled that "no direct evidence could prove he resorted to violence and threats" in his advocacy of independence for Taiwan. He had been released on medical bail in October 1992. Chen Tzu-tsai, a prisoner of conscience, was released in November after serving a one-year prison sentence for illegal entry into Taiwan. He had returned to Taiwan from the USA in 1991 despite being barred from doing so on account of his past political activities. Chen Shih-wei, a conscript, died in July after being tortured by officers in an army disciplinary unit. There was no provision to allow him to apply for exemption from military service on grounds of conscience. He had reported to his unit for military service about 36 hours later than permitted. As a punishment, he was immediately assigned to the Li-Teh Training Unit, based on Green Island, where officers were apparently ordered to single him out for severe punishment. Chen Shih-wei was imprisoned, handcuffed and tortured for more than two days. He was then taken to hospital where he died four days later. Two officers were indicted on manslaughter charges and appeared before a military tribunal in October. The family of Chen Shih-wei was not allowed to make a statement before the tribunal. The trial had not been completed by the end of the year. Prisoners under sentence of death continued to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. They were forced to wear ankle shackles at all times, including during exercise periods. The Vice-Minister of Justice stated in July that shackles were necessary to prevent escape and suicide. The Prison Law was revised in July to allow executions to be carried out by lethal injection; in the past they could only be carried out by firing-squad. According to unofficial reports, at least three people were executed by firing-squad during the year. Organs from the executed prisoners were used for transplants. Amnesty International feared that death-row prisoners were not in a position to give genuinely free consent to the use of their organs. The government did not publish detailed statistics on executions but indicated in May that all the prisoners whose death sentences had been upheld by the Supreme Court had been executed. The number of prisoners awaiting execution at the end of the year was not known. There were fears that four citizens of the People's Republic of China who had applied for political asylum would be forcibly returned to China, despite being at risk of human rights violations there. However, in October the four were given permission to remain in Taiwan for 12 months and released from a holding centre. Three of them had been held for over a year. The four included Chang Kuo-chung and Wang Ching, who had been active in the 1989 pro-democracy movement in China. Both had fled to Taiwan in October 1989, but had been forcibly returned by the Taiwanese authorities and detained in China. They had returned to Taiwan again in September 1992. In July Amnesty International published a report, Taiwan: Ill-Treatment on "Death Row", in which it criticized the permanent shackling of condemned prisoners as an arbitrary additional punishment which constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Amnesty International also expressed concern about the use of organs from executed prisoners for transplant operations and about new legislation authorizing the use of lethal injections to carry out executions, both of which could lead to the involvement of medical personnel in executions. The organization urged the government to commute all death sentences and take steps towards abolishing the death penalty. In August Amnesty International called on President Lee Teng-hui to order an independent and impartial investigation into the death of army conscript Chen Shih-wei. Amnesty International also urged the government to recognize the right to conscientious objection to military service and provide an alternative civilian form of service.

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