Five released, 162 cases to be dropped following Taiwan's decriminalization of adultery

Encroachment on sexual autonomy and interference with privacy cited by court as reasons for the change


(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —Five people jailed for adultery have been released and a total of 162 ongoing court cases involving affairs are expected to be dropped after criminal punishment for adultery was ruled unconstitutional by Taiwan’s Constitutional Court on May 29.

The court explained that classifying adultery as a criminal offense encroaches on people’s sexual autonomy and interferes with their privacy, CNA reported.

The ruling has in essence voided Article 239 of Taiwan’s Criminal Code, which stipulates that “A married person who commits adultery with another shall be sentenced to imprisonment for no longer than one year; the other party to the adultery shall be subject to the same punishment.”

Ministry of Justice data showed that a total of five people serving jail terms for adultery in prisons across Taiwan have been set free following the ruling.

According to unofficial statistics, a total of 141 adultery cases are currently going through the first trial, with 21 cases going through appeals, according to CNA. Deputy Minister of Justice Lin Hui-huang (林輝煌) said that judges presiding over these cases can dismiss the proceedings based on the Constitutional Court’s May 29 ruling.