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High Court finds brigade head not guilty in military abuse case

High Court finds brigade head not guilty in military abuse case

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court on Monday overturned a guilty conviction on the Army brigade commander in the 2013 death of a conscript that brought major reforms to the military justice system, but his deputy has gotten a harsher sentence of three years. The rulings changed the original verdict of the Taoyuan District Court last March in the high-profile case of Hung Chung-chiu's (???) death, in which 13 of the 18 defendants were found guilty on charges including abuse of power, offenses against personal freedom and negligent homicide. The other five were found not guilty. In the original ruling, Shen Wei-chih (???), the commander of the 542 Brigade, and 12 other defendants were given sentences ranging from three to eight months in jail, which Hung's bereaved family members appealed against as "too lenient." Monday's reversal cleared Shen of guilt but found 15 other defendants guilty while maintaining the district court's not guilty verdict for the two remaining defendants. Among the new sentences handed down, the deputy head of the brigade, Ho Chiang-chung (???), saw his term behind bars increase from six months to three years. None of the defendants were present at the High Court for the ruling, but Hung's parents, sister and uncle and the lawyer contracted by the Hung family to handle the case were there. Hung's uncle Hu Shih-ho (???) said they found the verdict acceptable except for the acquittal of Shen. Hung's sister Hung Tzu-yung (???) expressed her gratitude to the judges and prosecutors responsible for the case. "We didn't wish for a heavy penalty, just a warning for people with power that they should use the power with caution and fear." The 24-year-old conscript died of heat exhaustion on July 4, 2013 after being forced to do strenuous exercise in sweltering heat in a confinement facility where he should not have been detained to begin with, the court found. The death sparked major protests in Taiwan amid public perception that the military was dragging its feet in investigating the young college graduate's death. Public pressure eventually led to the drafting of new legislation that puts civilian courts and prosecutors in charge of military criminal cases. (By Liu Shih-yi and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-26 22:09 GMT+08:00