France urges Taiwan to hold debate on death penalty

Paris, Dec. 25 (CNA) France has condemned the execution of six death row inmates in Taiwan last week and urged Taiwan to open a national debate on the future of capital punishment. Through a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the French government urged Taiwan to restore a moratorium on the death penalty. "France, like its partners in the European Union, reaffirms its determined and consistent opposition to the death penalty, in all places and in all circumstances," the statement read. On Dec. 21, Taiwan executed six death row inmates who were convicted of murdering eight people. The executions were the first this year and brought to 15 the number of convicts put to death since April 2010, when Taiwan ended an informal 52-month moratorium on carrying out the death penalty. The executions have drawn condemnation from the European Union and Amnesty International. The government of Taiwan has explained that the executions were carried out in accordance with the country's laws, which still uphold capital punishment. Public poll results reveal that nearly 80 percent of the people in Taiwan are against abolishing the death penalty. (By Tsai Hsiao-ying and Y.F. Low)