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243 military prisoners to be transferred to civilian prisons

243 military prisoners to be transferred to civilian prisons

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) A total of 243 military prisoners will be transferred to 11 civilian prisons around Taiwan on Thursday when the newly revised Code of Court Martial Procedure takes effect, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Wednesday. According to MND figures, 254 servicemen who are serving their sentences at the country's only military prison in Tainan are eligible to be transferred to civilian prisons in the first phase of changes to the court martial system. Because 11 of them are either on medical parole or being held in custody at detention centers, 243 inmates at Tainan Military Prison will be transferred Thursday, an MND official familiar with the transfer said. The inmates to be transferred Thursday include three two-star generals, two one-star generals and Navy Cap. Kuo Li-heng, who was put behind bars for his role in brokering kickbacks in a high-profile Lafayette frigate deal in the 1990s, the official said. Another 53 military prisoners will be transferred to civilian prisons in the second phase of the court martial system overhaul that begins in five months. Under the revised court martial code, which passed the Legislative Yuan on Aug. 6 and was promulgated by the Presidential Office on Aug. 13, all military servicemen will be subject to the civilian justice system during peacetime. Military servicemen facing trial in peacetime will have their cases handled in civilian courts, while military prison and detention centerss are to be shut down, with military personnel serving sentences to be transferred to civilian prisons or detention centers in two stages. To ensure the smooth transfer of such a large number of military prisoners, details of the operation are being kept confidential, the official said, but it should start early in the morning and be completed by Thursday afternoon. Military police will help with the relocation of the inmates, the official said. The military is no stranger to large transfers of the people, the official added, referring to the removal of hundreds of prisoners to the Tainan Military Prison in 2005 when the Xindian Military Prison in northern Taiwan was shut down for good. The Ministry of Justice said, meanwhile, that the 51 people currently in custody at military detention centers in Kaohsiung and Taoyuan and 78 others presently on military probation will be transferred to civilian detention houses and prisons. Civilian courts will also take over the 178 cases pending investigations or rulings by military prosecutors or courts, the justice ministry said. The push to overhaul the court martial system came after the death of Army Corporal Hung Chung-chiu on July 4 following a serious of irregularities, disregard for military rules and procedures and abuses of power. The incident triggered huge public protests and calls for improved human rights and reforms in the military. The first phase of changes to the court martial system means that crimes involving the abuse or improper punishment of subordinates, the prevention of filing grievances, the obstruction of sexual autonomy or manslaughter committed by servicemen will be subject to the Code of Criminal Procedure. Other offenses will likewise be subject to civilian justice system starting five months later. (By Angela Tsai, Tsai Pei-chi and Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2021-03-07 07:56 GMT+08:00