Taiwan to abolish death penalty:

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian Wednesday vowed to abolish death penalty so that Taiwan can become a country founded on the basis of human rights.

"Abolishing the death penalty has become a world trend. Almost every year there is one country abolishing the death penalty," Chen said while receiving a delegation from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

"Since I became president in 2000, Taiwan launched the campaign to abolish the death penalty by reducing the handing down and execution of capital punishment, and by making it harder for inmates to receive parole and forcing them to pay more compensation to victims," he said.

As a result, the number of executions in Taiwan has dropped from 32 in 1998 to 17 in 2000 and 1 in 2005.

"My goal is to achieve zero executions within the shortest time and eventually abolish the death penalty," Chen said.

Under Taiwanese law, piracy is punishable by death penalty.

Public opinion polls have shown that 80 % of Taiwanese oppose abolishing the death policy but 40 % can accept it if Taiwan toughens jail terms for criminals and makes it hard for them to receive parole.

(source: Webindia123)